Don't limit your smartwatch, Samsung

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| March 19, 2013

One of the rumors I was hoping would turn out to be true before the announcement for the Galaxy S 4 revolved around Samsung’s reported smartwatch. Many of the rumors were starting to suggest that Samsung could unveil the accessory along with the Galaxy S 4, putting together a great combination for anyone wanting to jump on the wearable accessories train. As our own Anna Scantlin has outlined in the past, smartwatches could very well become a standard accessory for most people.

Much like the Bluetooth headsets of yesteryear.

Indeed, it would have went a long way in support of smartwatches in general had Samsung unveiled the mythical device right there along with the Galaxy S 4. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be true. Instead, Samsung wants to market the Galaxy S 4 itself as your “life companion,” and they put all the focus on the phone. (Well, after their Broadway show.) Considering Samsung is looking to have another Galaxy S III-type hit on their hands with the S 4, making sure everyone’s focus was on the phone was probably the right move.

But, without the smartwatch there on stage, I was beginning to think that they weren’t creating one at all. After all, it made sense to want to show off one of their best, and creative accessories along with their new device. Show how they go hand-in-hand, work seamlessly together, and make the life of the user even better thanks to both devices together.

Thankfully, my worry of a missing smartwatch from Samsung was put in its place earlier today. Bloomberg took some time to talk to Samsung’s EVP Lee Young Hee, and he went on the record to confirm that Samsung is indeed working on a smartwatch. In fact, they’ve been working on it for quite some time, but that they aren’t quite ready to launch anything. In fact, there was no hint as to when we could expect to see the new device hit the market, which is kind of sad.

In another story from Reuters, speaking to an unnamed source, the company’s smartwatch will be able to do quite a few things that a smartphone can do. What that entails, exactly, is anyone’s guess at this point. As it stands, smartwatches are comfortable displaying the time, notifying the owner of incoming calls, text messages and tasks, and some can even help you stay healthy with specific applications. So, how that can be broadened to perform “many of the same features as a smartphone” is pretty interesting.

So, I’m back to being excited about Samsung’s impending smartwatch. It’s good to hear that the company is indeed working on it, even if I’m saddened that I can’t circle a date on my calendar quite yet.

Actually, after giving it some thought, I’m happy that Samsung is waiting to announce their wearable accessory, because it means that they don’t necessarily have to put a huge focus on the device being a dedicated partner to their Galaxy S 4. Instead, it means that Samsung can make a smartwatch that functions as a universal accessory, that works with many different mobile operating systems, and not necessarily restricted to just working with Android.

Samsung and Apple love to give you features that put a focus on their own hardware ecosystem. Apple wants you to buy Apple, and Samsung would love it if you kept your eyes focused on Samsung smartphones. (I’m sure they’d like you to buy a Samsung refrigerator, but that’s beyond the point.) But, I think this is one area that Samsung shouldn’t restrict their device in any way. Because, let’s face it, we know that Apple will do exactly that.

One of the reasons why Pebble’s smartwatch is so cool is because it works with both Android and iOS. I think this is one area that Samsung can absolutely crush the competition if they do it right, thanks to their popularity and resources. It will be a big push for wearable accessories in general when Samsung launches their own device, but I think it will speak volumes for the consumer if the company doesn’t restrict its options.

Basically, Samsung, you’ve got to think about your own mobile OS, right? You’ve got Tizen coming down the pipe pretty quickly here, so why not give your own mobile operating system some wearable accessory love, too? Support Tizen, Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone 8. Even if you need a specific application on these platforms (many smartwatches out there have a dedicated app), make it happen. You’ve got the resources to get that done, so don’t limit yourself. And don’t keep your smartwatch out of the hands of people who may not be using your smartphone(s).

Yes, I’m saying this because I don’t want to buy a Galaxy S 4. (Though, at this rate, it’s possible that Samsung’s smartwatch could be an accessory for their Galaxy Note III, whenever that lands.) I want to be able to use any phone I want, but still have the option to use Samsung’s smartwatch. Well, unless it’s a terribly designed, and lackluster device. Then, in that case, Samsung can do whatever they want.

Do you think Samsung will make a universal smartwatch? Or do you think they’ll make sure you’re better off using their wearable accessory with Android, or even just Samsung-branded devices? Do you think it would serve Samsung’s best interest to make a smartwatch that supports all major mobile operating systems?

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