Possible Samsung smart watch rumors heighten smart-watch fever

As rumors swirled this week about Apple getting into the watch business, photos appeared on the Internet of a purported smart timepiece from Samsung.

Is this an image of a Samsung smart watch?

The photos posted to a South Korean message board show a watch face displaying an opening screen with the text 'Samsung Galaxy Altius,' a music-player screen, and a digital time screen. Most of the text on the screens is in Korean.

The use of the Altius brand in one of the screenshots cast doubt on the authenticity of the photos in the eyes of one Samsung watcher. "[W]e are sure that Samsung is using the 'Altius' codename for the upcoming Galaxy S IV and not a smartwatch," a blogger wrote at SamMobile, a Samsung enthusiast site.

"This and a few other reasons indicate that these screenshots might actually be a hoax," the blogger surmised.

Smart watches hot right now

Whether the photos are a hoax or not, it can't be denied that smart watches are buzz magnets at the moment. Much of that buzz is being driven by the success of the Pebble, a smart watch that became a Kickstarter darling.

The Pebble smart watch is already on sale.

Neither can it be denied that Samsung's electronics strategy is to fill every niche in the market. So if a smart-watch niche is emerging, you can bet your first born that Samsung will try to fill it.

Then consider the enmity between the Korean company and Apple. If Apple is producing a watch—and the idea isn't the product of Apple watchers grown tired of flogging Apple TV set rumors—we feel that Samsung won't sit idly by and concede the market to its arch competitor.

All this talk of smart watches must be leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of Microsoft. It launched a smart watch in 2003 that failed to capture the gadgetsphere's imagination. Ironically, the wireless network that supported those watches, called SPOT, went dark in January.

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