One thing that the current smartwatch industry has taught us is that the market for such devices continues to be a niche one – especially so for devices with a non-circular face. Well, that is unless you are Apple, in which case, you sell a bucket-load of those rectangular devices on the first day itself. Samsung, however, realizes that anything that looks like a child’s toy will be a hard sell going forward. According to a teaser released a few days back on their official blog for their next generation ‘Gear’ smartwatch, Samsung looks to have taken the cue, rectified that anomaly, and changed their previously rectangular smartwatch face to a more regular looking circular one. Samsung had also written about releasing a software development kit for third-party developers ahead of the launch.
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Towards that end, Samsung has earned a bunch of patents from the US Patents and Trademark Office over the past year that they believe would help them counter the Apple Watch. One of those patents seem to reveal that the ring around the frame of the watch might work the way the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown does, meaning that it could possibly be rotated for scrolling and also incorporate other functions. As for trademarks, some of the newer ones from Samsung, as published by the USPTO include “Glastyle”, “W” and “Samsung Wheel UX”. While the first one is for a supposedly new type of glass specifically designed and developed for smartwatches, the second one is simply a new Gear Brand. The third one is a completely new user interface that Samsung may debut with their new generation Gear smartwatch.
With all this flurry of activity from the Samsung stables, it is a distinct possibility that Samsung is readying something big for the US holiday season. They better be, if they are to stay competitive in the fledgling smartwatch industry, as in just a few weeks, Apple has already sold more than twice as many smartwatches as Samsung had managed to sell in the entire year in 2014. Add to that, the intensifying competition from Android Wear vendors like Motorola with their Moto 360, LG with their Watch Urbane and a whole host of others, including, but not limited to Sony, Asus and Huawei is just making things tough in an already niche space. The impending release of a new smartwatch from Tag Heuer is not going to make things any easier for any of the consumer electronics giants either. It remains to be seen if the mainstream consumer warms up to smartwatches like they’ve done to smartphones, or will the market cool down after the initial flurry of the early adopters fizzles out.