The race seems to be on among large vendors to bring new and improved wearable devices to market before the competition, as chatter surfaces that Samsung Electronics has filed a design patent in South Korea for handset-connected eyewear.
South Korea's tech titan has a design patent filing at the Korean Intellectual Property Office for smartphone-connecting eyewear that would display information from the handset. Samsung filed the for the eyewear design patent on March 8 but word just got out this month.
However, the patent filing does not indicate that Samsung's proposed device is a Google Glass clone. Rather than going head to head with Google Glass, the spectacles wearable is Samsung's own interpretation of a new form factor for the company that could rake in gratifying sales.
First off, Samsung appears to be positioning its smart glasses as sports glasses. The descriptions point to a Samsung product that is designed for outdoors activities or sports.
In a Thursday report in The Wall Street Journal, “This design is of a type [of glasses] with earphones integrated, allowing [users] to take phone calls and listen to music during workouts,” according to descriptions that were attached to drawings of the device.
Looking at the Other Side
Also, the design patent suggests trimmed-down functionalities. The glasses give hands-free control over the smartphone and can play music and receive phone calls through earphones. The earbuds in the design suggest the entry into audio.
Unlike Google Glass, the sketch shows a display over the left eye glass, in contrast to the Google Glass display over the right eye glass.
Samsung did not comment on the news of the patent filing. Some of the questions left unanswered include whether the eyewear could come with voice recognition, or a camera and, as important, whether the Samsung vision of an eyeglass wearable is all that independent or purposed solely as a phone peripheral. (Samsung referred to the Gear as "Samsung’s first wearable smartphone experience." The Gear device is positioned as a companion to the phone.)
Going by the drawing, the glasses would be tethered, to be plugged into the user's smartphone.
Certainly it would not be smart to think that Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch introduced last month will be the last we hear about wearable technology from the company.
Samsung earlier this year said it was "investing heavily" in wearable computers. And there is not much time to relax. According to Friday’s research blog notes from Juniper Research, the analyst firm is looking at a crowded market in wearables. Juniper Research estimates will be $19 billion by 2018.
"Previously, we noted that influential players such as Google, Apple, Samsung and had made key strategic moves and were raising awareness within the wearables sector; this time around, there are increasing indications from a host of additional players within the market that the smart watch segment is going to be a fiercely competitive one," said the blog. Senior analyst Nitin Bhas said Friday the forecast indicates wearable hardware revenue of nearly $19 billion by 2018, compared to just $1.4 billion this year.
Posted: 2013-11-02 @ 4:23am PT
I think it's fascinating how much information people are gleaning from design patents. Theoretically, they are only about style. Somehow style and functionality are all merging. http://bit.ly/strongdesignpatent1
Posted: 2013-10-29 @ 12:06pm PT
Wearable developers, technologists, designers, telecom and hardware providers are set to attend Wearable Computing Conference 2013 in New York next November 7, the biggest forum on wearable technologies on the East Coast.
Posted: 2013-10-26 @ 10:26am PT
Interesting ideas. If you want to get a better idea of what design patents are all about, there is a series on IPWatchdog that explains how Apple was able to get such strong design patents on their iPhone. http://bit.ly/strongdesignpatent1