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There has been a great deal of hype over recent months in the run-up to Samsung’s unveiling of the Galaxy Gear, a brand new wearable digital electronic device. A watch that can connect with smartphones and notify users of incoming messages or calls, the Galaxy Gear is, along with other smartwatches, on the cutting edge of the consumer electronics market. Potentially, it is also a very lucrative new product line, with a predicted 900% increase in sales from 2013 to 2014.
Samsung competitors Apple and Google are also rumoured to be developing similar products, but by launching its device first the Korean technology giant has beaten them to the punch. This is just the latest example of how Samsung is continuing to innovate faster than its counterparts - a story that IAM reported on earlier this year. Besides making the most patent applications to the European Patent Office in 2012 and possessing the largest portfolio of active US patents, Samsung has now also thrown down the gauntlet in a whole new industry sector.
That said, the Galaxy Gear may not be the revolutionary smartwatch that some may have been expecting. Patents filed by the company indicated a futuristic looking flexible display, one that could curve around a user’s wrist; however, the actual product features an immovable rectangular display screen. Some reviews have stated that the watch may function more as a complement to Samsung’s smartphone line, rather than as a high-end device in its own right. For example, users can’t compose emails or download music and its battery lasts for only a day. It has also been likened to a similar Sony product, the SmartWatch, that was quietly released earlier last year and is already in its second iteration.
Given all this, it is uncertain whether the Galaxy Gear will be a market-changer. But what its launch undoubtedly signals is Samsung’s aggressive ambitions to be seen as a technology leader. The company has been trying to shake off its reputation as a “mere” mass manufacturer of high-end devices over the last few years and by offering consumers a smartwatch ahead of many other big name tech giants it is sending a signal to the world that it is at the very forefront of innovation.
By launching before Apple and Google, Samsung is undertaking an exercise in brand building. And in doing so, it is demonstrating a clear understanding of the importance it places on developing its reserves of intellectual capital; the value of which goes way beyond straight IP. The deliberately created media buzz that culminated in the Galaxy Gear’s launch shows that the company is building its reputation for innovation very strategically indeed.
Does the launch of a "basic" product as far as technology is concerned indicate that Samsung have learnt from Apple's strategy of holding back technology so that "innovative" product developments can be trickled onto the market to hold the public's gaze on your products? A sound strategy that worked very well for Apple - good brand management.Charles Clark, Edwards Ltd on 12 Sep 2013 @ 09:29