Samsung has a group of new patent applications it filed recently related to wearable tech (via 9to5Google), and these could describe an initial foray into Android Wear, which Samsung has said it would support in addition to its Tizen-powered Gear devices depict a device with a circular face, much like the one featured in Motorola’s Android Wear-powered Moto360, and can work with a variety of hand gestures to trigger the activation of different tasks and features.
The patents talk about how you could move your wrist to call up different features, or tap on the screen to interact with remote controls for devices around your house. The device would also display the time when at rest inactive on your wrist, and it would be laden with sensors, including an optical one for monitoring pulse. The smartwatch would also be able to be worn in other locations, including around the neck as a pendant, in a pocket, or on a keychain if the wrist-mounted paradigm doesn’t necessarily strike a chord with consumers.
One interesting tidbit is the ability of the smartwatch to recognize barcodes, images, objects and do optical character recognition (plus translation) for printed text. This could be a good use case for wearables, since it means instantly pointing a device you have at hand at something and finding out more about it. It removes a step from smartphone-based object recognition, and might help that tech become more generally useful.
This wearable patent blitz doesn’t necessarily indicate a product roadmap, but it does show that Samsung is seriously ramping up its R&D efforts in this area. The Korean company was among the first to jump for smartwatches, and is already selling its second generation Galaxy Gear line of hardware. It’s not surprising to see it move so quickly to push the category further, but it still remains to be seen whether any developments in this space will light a fire under consumers.