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iWatch: Can Google, Samsung Rival Apple's 'Smart Timepiece'?

By Megan Anderle   |   Friday, 22 Mar 2013 08:54 AM

As the rumor mill for Apple's iWatch continues to churn, Google and Samsung are reportedly developing their own smart watches.

Apple has not confirmed that they are creating an iWatch, but a series of leaks from insiders have revealed that the wristwatch would have all the capabilities of a smart phone – similar to the ones James Bond spies use – that would run on the company's iOS platform. The device would be made of curved, bendable glass, sources add.

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Perhaps Google and Samsung are creating their own watches to beat Apple to the punch, or perhaps they will wait for the Apple version to come out first and then release an improved version. Either way, there is evidence that all three companies have plans underway.

Last year, Google had a patent application approved for a “smart watch” with dual-screen “flip-up display”, and a camera, the Financial Times reports. The patent filing also mentioned a “tactile user interface,” also known as a touchscreen. Bear in mind the search giant could use all or none of these features in the final version of the product.

A Google source told the tech blog Android and Me that a Google watch could launch by the “end of summer” and it would feature tight integration with the rumored X Phone.

Officials at the search giant have not commented on a purported watch.

Samsung, on the other hand, was forthcoming about their plans.

“We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, told Bloomberg. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

Lee did not comment on the watch's features, how much it would cost, or when it would hit the market. However, the company is planning to release three high-end smartphones this year, the capabilities of which may or may not correspond with the watch.

A major purpose for the watches that distinguishes it from smart phones and other devices would be its ability to accurately track users' steps and exercise patterns. There are already watches from companies like Nike and FitBit that have built in pedometers and ways of tracking activity levels, but none of them have smart phone capabilities like emailing and calling.

Wearable technology is becoming all the rage among smart phone makers.

Google is developing Google Glass, eyewear that has a built-in camera, microphone and speaker technology that can sync to the Internet using wireless connections. Mini-screens in the glasses allow users to see text messages, emails, or other digitized information from the Internet or mobile gadgets.

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A new patent filing suggests Google also wants to give Glass the ability to control household appliances such as refrigerators and garage doors, to keep the item as distinguishable as possible.

Techcrunch reports the groundbreaking product is slated to come out by the end of 2013 and will cost around $1,500, perfect for Christmas shoppers with an expansive budget.

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As the rumor mill for Apple's iWatch continues to churn, Google and Samsung are reportedly developing their own watches.

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