samsung-logo-001Samsung Electronics Co. is developing a wristwatch as it races against Apple Inc. to create a new industry of wearable devices that perform similar tasks as smartphones. This was disclosed by Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business in an  interview with Bloomberg.

Less than a week after it unveiled the Galaxy S4, its upcoming flagship smartphone, Lee told the news agency that a smart watch has been in development for some time, he did not disclose specific product information or a launch date. However, that’s notable since Apple has remain tight-lipped despite fervent speculation that its own watch will be powered by iOS and will launch this year.

“We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long. 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.”

The disclosure comes after people familiar with Apple’s plans said last month the U.S. company has about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform similar functions to the iPhone and iPad. The global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales this year, and the first companies to sell devices that multitask could lock customers into their platform, boosting sales of phones, tablets and TVs.

Apple seeks to introduce its wristwatch device as soon as this year, said one of the people familiar, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The features under consideration by the Cupertino, California-based company include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, one of the people said. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Samsung may be able to undercut Apple on price because the Korean company makes its own displays and chips, Samsung also is the world’s largest maker of TVs and memory chips.

Credit: Bloomberg