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Samsung Rumoured To Be Planning Smart Watch

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Possible Samsung competitor to hypothetical Apple iWatch surfaces in alleged screenshots

Following on from rumours suggesting possible Apple plans for an “iWatch“, Slashgear last week unearthed screenshots which appear to indicate a competing smart watch from Samsung.

The screenshots, which are in black and white, originate from an unspecified Korean discussion forum and feature a Korean-language operating system.

Telling time

The screens feature a 500×500-pixels resolution and use a tile-based interface not unlike that employed by Microsoft’s Windows 8. Tiles appear to give access to applications for music, email and maps, and the screenshots also show the device telling the time.

One screen indicates that the device appears to be called the “Galaxy Altius”, a name which could make it a companion device for Samsung’s successful Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, or indeed a new generation of Galaxy devices.

Samsung-Galaxy-Watch-Leak-ScreenshotsThe rumoured device appears to run software called “AltiusOS Beta 2”, which could indicate a departure from the Windows and Android operating systems used by other Samsung mobile devices. Samsung has long been said to be planning to develop an in-house mobile OS to reduce its dependence on US-based software makers.

The names SKT and SK Telecom feature in the screenshots, suggesting a mobile data plan with an operator such as South Korea Telecom could be involved.

One screen indicates that the device includes only 235MB of storage space, which would seem to suggest that the watch is intended more as an interface for a nearby smartphone or tablet, rather than a stand-alone device. Motorola released a device of this type last year called the Motoactiv.

If the watch is indeed intended to accompany other Galaxy devices, some industry observers have suggested it could launch at the same time as the forthcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone, planned for 15 March.

Curved glass

Last week the New York Times reported that Apple is testing a smart watch featuring curved glass at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The iWatch could use thin and flexible Willow Glass, a product developed by Gorilla Glass-manufacturer Corning. Willow Glass has been in development for around a decade and can apparently bend without breaking.

It has been speculated that the iWatch could include mapping software, voice recognition software Siri and could even be used for mobile payments. It is expected that it will interact with iPhones and iPads.

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