Samsung 'Glass' competitor out this year?

28 January 2014

Google Glass may have competition from Samsung sooner rather than later, with the Korean giant expected to unveil a new wearable device at the IFA expo in Berlin this September. The device would be a face-mounted gadget, much like Google Glass, sparking discussion online about many of the ‘copy-cat’ problems already faced by Samsung.

Google Glass is expected by many to see a proper consumer release date sometime in 2014. We say ‘proper’ because some lucky buyers can already get their hands on Glass for a cool US$1500, so long as they ‘qualify’ for Google's program. Google has made it clear that this is as much of a buy-in to a beta testing phase as it is an actual product. Eventually, Glass is expected to be much more widely available for a more affordable price.

Getting in on the ground floor of smartglass tech is a gamble that Samsung can also afford to make. Right now there’s no telling whether or not it’ll actually become a cultural trend worth billions of dollars, so smaller manufacturers will be hesitant to offer up their own devices until the market becomes tangible.

With Samsung’s bank it makes sense to compete with Google as early as possible, just in case things do take off. That way Samsung would be an already-established producer of a new piece of in-demand technology once other competition starts to crop up. If things don’t go well then Samsung can afford to take the hit and keep on moving in other techy directions.

Expect more stuff on your face

Samsung will not be the only company to follow Google’s lead with smart glasses this year. Sony’s already working on its own face gadget and wearable tech was the unofficial theme of CES this year.

The reason? It's possibly that Google’s Glass Explorer program is getting a lot of press. People talk about it, they’re curious about it and many already think it sounds like a great idea. Of course, a lot of people have opposing feelings about Glass as well, with concerns about privacy at the front of many minds.

If Glass takes off, taking a major percentage of the early sales can help establish winners and losers before it ends up costing billions just to get your foot in the door.

Ask Microsoft how Windows Phone is doing lately. Now there's a prime example of how getting in one or two years late can seriously cripple market penetration. In the tech game you generally want to be number one or number two. Number three is not a good place to be, a fact that MSFT has learnt at great expense.

There’s a pattern here…

Samsung isn’t always at the very forefront of device innovation. That’s to be expected when your global tech company spans just about every product with a computer chip; sometimes you’re beaten to the punch.

This isn’t to say that Samsung doesn’t have its own cool innovations, bendy screens are definitely some of our favourite things headed our way, but it hasn't exactly been responsible for some of its biggest products.

Often, a new kind of device is released, becomes popular, and then Samsung moves in with its own version and carves out a portion of the market for itself.

This is one of Samsung’s biggest strengths, but is also the source of Samsung’s legal woes with Apple concerning smartphone patents.

It may sound counter-intuitive but this can be a good thing. This way there’s more competition in the market for new products, leading to a better situation for both the consumer and for Samsung. It’s not ideal for the company that came up with the original product, but in pushing for better products through competition, it helps to increase consumer demand, which can benefit the original creators

Source: Korea Times

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