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Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch: Cloak lifted on secret details

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Patent documents filed by Samsung have revealed details - for the first time - about what the South Korean tech behemoth's R&D department have been working on over the last few months: a smartwatch.

According to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the gadget - dubbed Samsung Galaxy Gear - falls under the "wearable digital electronic device" category such as "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".

The related Samsung Gear mark, meanwhile, has been registered in South Korea.

As for the operating system, there's a clear hint from the Galaxy tag that the smartwatch is likely to be running on Android.

The market is starting to look crowded with - among others - Apple's iWatch, Microsoft's Surface Watch and now Samsung's Galaxy Gear.

Apparently, the tech vendors are gearing up for a bumper watch face-off in 2014, at least - that is - according to analysts at Canalys, who recently predicted that over five million of the gadgets will ship worldwide next year.

Pictures detailing the design of the watch appear to show that Samsung is planning to release a gadget "with a body made of flexible displays and elastic materials that can be used while wrapped around a wrist or flattened out", according to a filing submitted in May with the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

Sony recently trumpeted that it was six months ahead of the pack in the race to ship a viable smartwatch. Its latest Android-powered, wrist-wrapped gizmo is set for release in September. ®

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