Apple’s rivalry with kind of the Android hill Samsung isn’t exactly the newest of developments – the two have been to one extent or another at each-other’s throats for years. However, things seemed to reach something of a peak last year when Samsung’s apparent patent infringement on several of Apple’s patents resulted in a heated, drawn out and at times petty courtroom battle that would ultimately see Samsung a cool billion dollars worse off.
You’d have been forgiven therefore for thinking that the two would be making every effort to keep as much distance as possible from its rival in order to avoid a repeat of the same ugliness. Fast forward to 2013 however and chances are we’re in for another round of the sometimes juvenile brand-bashing and name-calling, with Samsung having confirmed that it will be launching a Smartwatch in the coming months just as Apple’s iWatch was grabbing the attention of the world’s consumer and critical contingencies.
The fact that Samsung has at least broken silence on its plans however could to some extent give the South Korean firm a pretty big one-up on Apple, in theory at least.
“We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Said Lee Young Hee, Samsung mobile’s vice president while talking to Bloomberg reporters. “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.”
It was back in February that a New York Times article broke the news than Apple was planning to launch an iWatch in the near future, with sources from the Cupertino collective having been cited as delivering pretty irrefutable confirmation. Not that this was the first time the rumor itself had crept up, but the report itself and the authority behind it represented the most concrete confirmation of such a device so far.
Roughly summed up, a Smartwatch could work either as a peripheral device and controller to use in conjunction with a compatible Smartphone, or potentially take the place of a Smartphone and deliver an enormous range of additional features. This king of consumer technology has already been heralded the future of the industry worth tens of billions of dollars, so we’re once again back to the ‘chicken and egg’ question regarding which of the two biggest names in the business technically beat the other to the punch.
Realistically speaking from a consumer point of view however it doesn’t really matter. While competition and rivalry between brands has the potential to spur innovation and super gains for end users, it can sometime boil over into puerile pettiness and see all involved parties focus more on proving a point that making a product that gels.
You have to wonder what Apple and Samsung could have come up with in terms of innovation and productivity with the time, effort and money wasted on courtroom battles to date. After all, it’s not as if $1 billion means much to either.
So, it remains to be seen how the two slug it out in the impending Smartwatch wars and will no doubt prove an interesting scenario. Will either rush its Smartwatch to the table just to get their first, or will both be looking to hold back and see what the other does?
And more importantly, will it be a case of the strongest contender winning, or simply the one that has the strongest legal argument and the more patents already held on paper?