Tech experts debate the smarts of the 'smartwatch'

Tech experts debate the smarts of the 'smartwatch'

SEOUL - News that Samsung will unveil a "smartwatch" next month has sent rumour mills into overdrive within the tech community as it second guesses what the much-hyped gadget will offer.

Wearable computing, including Google's smart glasses, is considered the next frontier in consumer electronics following smartphones.

Apple has long been rumoured to be working on introducing an "iWatch" and Samsung is reportedly looking to steal a march on its arch rival by launching its "Galaxy Gear" smartwatch at the IFA industrial exhibition in Berlin in the first week of September.

Samsung has steadfastly declined to confirm or deny its intentions and has offered no insights on the design or technical specifications of the new digital device.

That has not stopped specialist tech websites filling the vacuum with speculation and informed guesswork based on sources at application development firms who have apparently been sent prototypes.

Initial reports suggested the watch would allow users to make calls, access e-mail and surf the Internet.

The Verge website cited one source who insisted it would not be a self-contained "watchphone" in the sense of a unit with its own SIM card, cellular radio, and data connection.

Instead it will be a device that "works with phones" using bluetooth technology to pair with a user's smartphone, the source was quoted as saying.

The website GigaOM cited various sources as saying the Samsung device would have a camera integrated into the strap and tiny speakers in the clasp of the watch.

This was partly supported by details provided by local South Korean website Moveplayer of a patent for "Samsung Gear" that was approved by the South Korean patent office in May.

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