Samsung to unveil wearable smartphone

SEOUL — Samsung Electronics will introduce a wristwatch-like device named the Galaxy Gear next month that can make phone calls, surf the Web and handle emails, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Galaxy Gear will be powered by Google’s Android operating system and go on sale this year to beat a potentially competing product from Apple, the people said. The device will be unveiled Sept. 4, two days before the IFA consumer electronics show begins in Berlin, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private.

Asia’s biggest technology company is racing other electronics makers, including Sony Corp., to create a new industry of wearable devices as the market for top-end handsets nears saturation. The global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales this year, and the first companies to sell devices that multitask could lock customers into their platform, boosting sales of smartphones, tablets and TVs.

“It will carve a niche for sure as this is an initial product in the market,” said Chung Chang Won, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Seoul. “Wearable devices could be one of the trends in the smartphone market, but I’m not sure yet whether watches or glasses will set the trend.”

The Galaxy Gear being released next month won’t have a flexible display, though the company is continuing to work on developing a bendable screen, one person said. It will be unveiled the same day as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, a combination smartphone and tablet computer.

Apple had a team of about 100 designers working on watch-like device, two people familiar with the matter said in February. The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., is seeking to introduce its device this year, one of the people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Samsung became the world’s largest smartphone maker last year, overtaking Apple. The company, based in Suwon, South Korea, had about 33 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, while the iPhone maker fell to a three-year low as more consumers chose inexpensive handsets from Chinese makers, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

Samsung posted second-quarter earnings July 26 that missed analyst estimates as sales growth for the flagship Galaxy S4 was curbed by slowing demand for high-end handsets. Shares have fallen 15 percent this year in Seoul trading, compared with a 4 percent decline in the benchmark Kospi index.

Samsung released the Galaxy S4 smartphone in April and plans at least two other high-end handsets this year, including a device using the Tizen operating system.

Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said in a March interview the company was working on a watch device.

IFA runs Sept. 6-11.

More in Herald Business Journal

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

Providence said to be in talks for merger with Ascension

The two Catholic health organizations have been exploring joining forces, sources say.

Lockheed-Martin dominates global arms sales, Boeing is 2nd

The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion.

Most Read