Samsung was early to market with a smartwatch in the Galaxy Gear, and now it looks like it might be one of the first in the mix with a glasses-based computing device. A new report from the Korea Times (via Verge) suggests that Samsung is currently developing a Google Glass competitor, which is in fact provisionally named “Galaxy Glass,” set for launch in September at the annual IFA tech conference.
Google has yet to put a firm timeline on the consumer launch of its own Google Glass wearable computer, which is available to developers and early adopters via Google’s ‘Explorer’ program. Some reports had suggested a general launch for late 2013, but then later information from Google revised the release timeline to sometime in 2014. Samsung could conceivably beat Google to the punch, but as we saw with the Galaxy Gear, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The Gear was likewise telegraphed before its actual launch, with Samsung coming right out and admitting the device was on the way at IFA. This time around, there’s no named source discussing the device, but the Korea Times does quote a Samsung official as saying that the potential in the market is huge, and that Samsung is very interested in getting a first-mover advantage in the space.
As for what Samsung Glass would do, it sounds like it would essentially provide a basic heads-up display for your smartphone on your face, pushing notifications, music playback information and basic controls to the lens of a head-mounted display.
Samsung getting in among the early crop of device-makers hoping to ride this trend is in keeping with its recent strategy, which seems to be one of putting everything they can out as a shipping product. It’s a plan that gets them lots of props as a company eager to pursue innovation and drive new product development, but the first-mover advantage has only questionable use value if these first generation products keep failing to impress.
Both the smartwatch and the eyeware-based computing models are interesting because OEMs seem to be pursuing them fairly aggressively without any evidence that this is a direction consumers necessarily are interested in. We’ll apparently see in September if Samsung has managed to build a face computer that moves the tech forward, however.