Samsung said to develop Galaxy Band wearable device, headed by Apple’s former Siri engineer

samsung galaxy gear

The Galaxy Gear smarwatch may have failed to meet Samsung leadership’s expectations in terms of sales, with the reported less than million units shipped (not sold), but that doesn’t mean the South Korean conglomerate is giving up on its new wearable brand. Quite the contrary, a report alleges Samsung would soon expand the family by unveiling a new wearable device, tentatively-named Galaxy Band.

What’s more, a former Apple engineer who worked on Siri is reportedly overseeing this project. But what exactly would this presumed Galaxy Band device be capable of?

According to a story by Seoul-based Digital Daily, it’s a fitness type of device which packs in a flurry of sensors, including a power-sipping motion sensor akin to Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor inside the iPhone 5s

According to Digital Daily, a Seoul-based online publication that covers tech news, the device is being developed by Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications division.

The Galaxy Band is being described as an armband-type of wearable device outfitted with a bunch of various sensors capable of gathering data on pressure, temperature, humidity and motion, among others.

The route guidance would be included, in addition to context-awareness, context analysis and speech recognition technologies.

A team of experts over at Samsung’s Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley allegedly took responsibility for making the Band play nice with the Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions platform (SAMI).

SAMI, Samsung’s Siri-like system, is a platform that looks to aggregate and distribute data from Internet-connected devices and as such is central to the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) initiative.

Samsung Interne of Things (image 001)

The really interesting thing about SAMI is that it’s headed by Luc Julia, a former Apple software engineer who was in charge of developing the company’s Siri virtual assistant.

The basic promise of SEMI is normalizing, if you will, various types of information gathered from various products and deliver this data through a standard API to third-party apps.

Apparently, she’s now fully in charge of the Galaxy Band project.

That’s where the Galaxy Band’s assumed focus on healthcare functions comes into full view. According to the Digital Daily story, such a device would link to Samsung’s Galaxy series smartphones and tablets over low-power Bluetooth 4.0.

The publication goes on to note that the Galaxy Band is likely to be introduced at the Mobile World Congress in February 2014, with first-quarter availability.

iWatch concept (unknown 002)

If a health/fitness type of wearable device sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Bloomberg reported back in March that Apple has a team of over a hundred engineers working on an iWatch project, its first iOS-powered wearable device. Instead of being just another smartwatch, Bloomberg claimed the iWatch would be a wristwatch-like device with focus on health and fitness functions.

“It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates”, a source told Bloomberg.

Although sources mentioned standard smartwatch features like making phone calls, receiving notifications and checking map coordinates, the iWatch’s primary focus should be health and fitness-related data.

iwatch concept ios 7
Nike FuelBand-like iWatch concept by Dribbble’s Thomas Bogner.

I think that makes a lot of sense.

People wondering why on Earth Apple would make a smartwatch are missing a point. It’s like before the original iPhone came along, when folks had been adamant that the then-rumored Apple cellphone would turn out to be an oversized iPod with the click wheel and some added phone functions.

In other words, expect much more than a gorgeous smartwatch from Apple.

That being said, unless Apple builds a device I can wear on my person that would log my critical health and fitness data all day long, a life companion of sorts, I’ll pass.

No matter how smart and beautiful, a regular smartwatch from Apple won’t cut it for me.


Pictured top of post: Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.