Apple isn’t the only phone maker looking to break into smartwatches. In a Bloomberg interview, Samsung Mobile VP Lee Young Hee confirmed reports that the company is developing a connected wristwatch, saying "we’ve been preparing the watch product for so long," and adding that the company has been working hard to bring it to market. While the watch — possibly named the Galaxy Altius — has been rumored for some time, this marks the first official confirmation from a Samsung executive. The VP didn't provide any other details on the product, but a Reuters report citing an unnamed source claims that the watch will perform many of the functions of a smartphone.
Samsung has been trying its luck with wearable electronics for years, but hasn’t managed to produce a successful formula. In 1999, the company released the world's first watch phone, the SPH-WP10 (pictured above), before launching the S9110 (pictured top) — a touchscreen version with Bluetooth support and Outlook email syncing — in 2009 for €450, or about $470 at the time. With the maturation of the Android platform and renewed interest in the segment thanks to Pebble and others, maybe this could be the year Samsung takes the connected watch mainstream. The trick, acknowledges Lee, is in developing something that people find meaningful.