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Samsung exec confirms it’s prepping a smartwatch, been working on it ‘for so long’

Galaxy-AltiusSamsung confirmed in an interview this week that not only is it working on a smartwatch, but it’s been doing so for some considerable time.

“We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, told Bloomberg in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday, adding, “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

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Rumors about the Korean electronics giant developing a high-tech watch have been doing the rounds for a while now, but this is the first time a source who didn’t mind being named has stated it as fact.

Hee didn’t divulge any details regarding the look or specifications of the smartwatch, though it’s of course possible she was referring to the much-talked-about Altius wristwatch that’s been popping up on many tech websites – including this one – in recent months.

Though consumers on the hunt for a smartwatch already have a few products to choose from, Hee’s comments mean the race is well and truly on between the tech world’s two biggest players and fierce rivals, Samsung and Apple.

In a report earlier this month, it was suggested that the Cupertino company could have a smartwatch ready for launch before the end of this year. The so-called iWatch, possibly made with curved glass, will reportedly run a modified version of iOS, enabling it to sync with Apple’s mobile devices and perform functions such as making and receiving calls. GPS functionality is also likely.

The project is apparently being led by Apple design chief Jony Ive and involves a team of around 100 product designers. As usual, of course, Apple hasn’t yet released any information about the watch through official channels.

With the smartphone market seemingly reaching saturation point, tech companies are desperately looking around for a new wow-factor product to grab the attention of consumers, though there’s much debate as to whether a bells-and-whistles wristwatch will be that product.

For Samsung and Apple, time, so to speak, is of the essence. The company that gets its product on the market first could gain a big advantage, locking new users into its ecosystem before its rival even has a chance to take the wraps off its competing device.

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