Samsung confirms new wearables coming in 2014

Samsung Galaxy Gear (multiple devices 002)

You have to admire Samsung’s persistence. Unfazed by lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike who aren’t rushing out to buy its Galaxy Gear smartwatch in droves, the undeterred South Korean conglomerate is planning to release new wearable gadgets for the upcoming launch of the next Galaxy S smartphone in May and a Galaxy Note successor in Fall.

Dennis Miloseski, head of studio for Samsung Design America, told Re/code that 2014 is going to be “a really big year” for Samsung wearables, hinting at “some products around the launch of our flagship devices”

According to the Re/code article, Samsung will develop a range of wearables in 2014, some capable of operating independently and others requiring a smartphone for part of their functionality.

His money is on tethered devices because “battery life is really a challenge” in standalone devices which support battery-draining GPS capabilities. He also cautioned wearables need to be stylish in order to convince consumers to wear them on their person.

“When I have something on my body, it’s a part of me,” he said. “It’s a part of my wardrobe.”

He thinks Samsung’s ability “to make technology blend in with your life” will be a big part of his company’s effort to make smartwatches fashionable.

They should probably work on terrible Gear advertising, too.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said something similar last May, though his comment referred to issues with the functionality of devices worn on your body rather than how they look.

There are lots of gadgets in the space. I would say that the ones that are doing more than one thing, there’s nothing great out there that I’ve seen.

Nothing that’s going to convince a kid that’s never worn glasses or a band or a watch or whatever to wear one. At least I haven’t seen it. So there’s lots of things to solve in this space.

Apple of course is rumored to be working on a wearable device of its own though no concrete evidence in the form of leaked parts exists to support speculation.

A report yesterday by The Information, a new website by the former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, claimed that the iWatch project is troubled by challenges related to the device’s screen technology, battery life and manufacturing.

iWatch C (Martin Hajek 002)

Apparently, the company “halted advanced prototyping of some unknown pieces with one manufacturer late last year” and considered trying a new screen technology to improve battery performance.

Additionally, some of the people working on Apple’s wearable device are said to have left Apple for Google to work on its smart Glass eyewear. And Bryan James, another iWatch team member, has apparently gone to Nest.

The Re/code story matches up nicely with talk of a tentatively-named Galaxy Band wearable.

Headed by Apple’s former Siri engineer, that project is being described as an armband-type of wearable outfitted with various sensors that gather data on pressure, temperature, humidity and motion, among others.

Route guidance is said to be supported as well, in addition to context-awareness, context analysis and speech recognition technologies.

What do you think?

Is 2014 going to be the year wearables take off?

I’m not so sure about that, though I could be wrong.