Samsung lays ground for a 'Galaxy Gear' smart watch

A trademark filing hints at a future product from the smartphone market leader

Samsung has laid the groundwork for its potential entry into the much-hyped smart-watch market, by filing an application for a U.S. trademark on the name "Samsung Galaxy Gear."

The trademark would be used for "wearable digital electronic devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle capable of providing access to the Internet and for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages," Samsung said in a filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office dated July 29.

The devices could also be used for "the wireless receipt, storage and/or transmission of data and messages and for keeping track of or managing personal information; smart phones; tablet computers; portable computers," according to the filing.

Wristwatches have fallen out of favor in recent years as more people turn to their cellphone to tell the time, but the sector has been energized by rumors of a forthcoming smart watch from Apple.

While Apple has yet to confirm it's even developing such a device, the rumors have prompted some of its competitors to take a closer look at watches and other wearable technology and how they may pair with a smartphone.

Japan's Sony has already come up with a couple of smart watches. Based on Android, its latest watch is being billed as a second screen for an Android phone and will be available in September.

It can be used as a multi-functional watch, Android app interface and phone remote control. Text messages, email and calendar reminders can be read on the watch's 1.6-inch screen.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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