Feeds

Samsung files patent for ear-mounted Google Glass competitor

Wearables are coming, and there's nothing you can do to stop them

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Pics Samsung has filed a design-patent application with the Korean Intellectual Property Office for what appears to be a cross between a Bluetooth earpiece and Google Glass.

Being a design patent, there is very little descriptive text about the device, but its title describes it as an "earphone" (이어폰) and what little text there is says that it's a design for "wearable augmented reality" (웨어러블 증강현실을).

The filing is the latest bit of evidence that Sammy is serious about the market for wearable computing devices – a market that hasn't yet taken off, but which some analysts at IDC believe will be shipping in the millions by 2016.

It's not that the company's clunky Galaxy Gear smartwatch has helped the wearables market, however. Despite promises that the irresistible wristable would make you a hit with the ladies, sales have been, well, "disappointing" would be a fair assessment.

Samsung headset patent-application illustration: three-quarter view

Samsung's 'Earphone' device, seen in three-quarter view ...

Samsung headset patent-application illustration: from the side

... from the side ...

Samsung headset patent-application illustration: from above

... from above ...

Samsung headset patent-application illustration: worn

... and on some bald dude's head

But you've gotta hand it to Sammy for not giving up. An article in The Korea Times this January quoted an unnamed Samsung official as saying that "The market potential for smart glass is huge," and that their offering – tentatively called "Galaxy Glass" – might be unveiled as early as the IFA consumer electronics show this September in Berlin.

This latest patent application appears at first blush to be an improvement over the smart-glasses application they filed late last year, which bore a retro resemblace to 1980s Oakley shades.

And there does appear to be momentum – or at least interest – in the head-mounted computing sphere. At this year's CES, for example, a gaggle of glasses were on view, including devices from Epson, Lumus, Optinvent, and Sony.

In addition, beginning this Tuesday, anyone – well, anyone in the US with a spare grand-and-a-half, that is – can buy Google Glass, and the same article from The Korea Times that we mentioned above says that a Glass supplier told the Times that the headset "will be commercially available to general users by the latter half of this year," although exactly how geographically general wasn't specified.

Wearable tech is coming – on your wrist, on your brow, on your skin, or wrapped around your ear as in Samsung's latest patent application. If you'd like to take a look at the application yourself, search for "Samsung earphone" here or download a PDF here. ®

Bootnote

After learning about Samsung's patent on Engadget, we first searched for the filing on the US Patent and Trademark Office's website before turning to the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

You might be amused to know – as befits a massive conglomerate such as Samsung – that the Korean chaebol hauled in a total of 191 patents on Tuesday during the USPTO's weekly patent release, including ones entitled "Washing Machine", "Robot", and "Apparatus and method for imaging breast".

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.