Earlier this month a rumor surfaced claiming that Samsung was working on a Google Glass competitor, under the name “Gear Glass”. Details were scarce at the time, but now it seems we have at least a little more proof that Samsung is up to something.
A design patent was filed in South Korea earlier this year for a pair of computerized glasses, and was fully granted this October. Wall Street Journal was the first news publication to dig up the patent, which includes several photos that show off a pair of glasses with side buttons, a camera, and a wire that runs down the side for apparently directly plugging into a mobile device.
According to one of the memos attached to a drawing of the concept device, the design is for a type of glasses “with earphones integrated, allowing [users] to take phone calls and listen to music during workouts.” In short, it’s basically a similar device to the Galaxy Gear but in glasses form.
The key difference between Samsung’s concept and Google Glass is that the Korean giant seems to be aiming this product at the outdoorsy and sports-loving types. A second memo indicates the device would “display alerts for information running on the phone, providing easy access to control when the users’ hands are tied with sports activities”.
The patent info doesn’t mention anything about apps or other special uses, but we imagine that Samsung plans functionality at least somewhat similar to Google’s Glass.
So when might we see such a device from Samsung? Previous rumors indicated that the so-called ‘Gear Glass’ would arrive in April or May of next year, but it’s really hard to say for sure.
First, what we see above is just a patent design and therefore may look nothing like the final product. Second, Samsung likely tests new designs and products all the time, so there is no guarantee that they are actively interested in making this a reality in the near future – despite what the rumor mill tells us.
If Samsung does plan on pushing out a Google Glass-like device in 2014, they need to tread carefully if they want to find success here.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear had a lot of potential but it’s hard to deny that Samsung botched the launch by offering limited apps and only allowing Gear to work with the Note 3 upon its initial arrive. Here’s to hoping that Samsung can get things right if/when it launches wearable glasses.
What do you think, would you like to see a Samsung Glass-like device that it geared towards outdoor use?