Over the last eleven months there has been a series of utility and design patents from Samsung illustrating a consistent shift away from their oblong Gear smartwatch interface design to that of one that carries a more traditional round interface as noted in our cover graphic. More importantly, the revelation of a new user interface surfaced last June which described a whole new user experience (UX) that could make it easier to switch apps and interact with them.
According to Samsung's patent, the watch would include a unique ring around the frame of the watch that would rotate and control scrolling and other functions. In a way it would counter the Apple Watch's Digital Crown.
This week the U.S. Trademark office published three trademarks from Samsung that covered a new kind of glass for ultra-mobile devices called "Glastyle," a new Gear Brand noted as "W" and one for a new interface called the "Samsung Wheel UX."
While Samsung reportedly sold 1.2 million smartwatches in all of 2014, Apple Watch sales have already sailed past that number in just a few weeks. If Samsung is even to stay relevant in the wearables market, then they're going to have to come up with something more appealing to the consumer and do it fast before Apple steamrolls over the wearable market players like Play-Doh.
Samsung's recent IP filings would suggest that they're going to make a dramatic shift in their Gear smartwatch design and its mode of operation. Will Samsung attempt to challenge the new Apple Watch this Christmas with a surprise reinvention of the current smartwatch? While only time will tell, the evidence is beginning to mount and the buzz in the Android community would suggest that it just might happen.
Between a possible new smartwatch from Samsung and the first smartwatch from Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer this fall, it certainly looks like it's going to be a battle royal for the consumer's wrist. Will the Apple Watch win the market over as forecasted by many or will it really be a slugfest? Only time will tell.