UPDATED 07:30 EST / APRIL 11 2013

Apple Job Posting Hints at Smart Watch Project : Here’s 6 Ways to Win

Smartphones? So passe.  Tablets?  So 2012.  The next “it” thing in consumer gadgets is the smartwatch, a device that could become all the more exciting with the use of flexible glass.  We’ve seen the technology at CES (thanks Samsung), and we’ve seen a number of related patents filed, Google being the most recent.  But the company we’re most anxious for a flexible smartwatch launch is Apple, a gadget-maker that’s long overdue for another bar-setting product release.

That day may be sooner than we think, as Apple seeks out a Senior Optical Engineer to work on products with “emerging” display technology, including flexible glass.  The job posting put out by Apple (since removed), all but confirms the iPhone maker is indeed working on its next big thing — a product with flexible screens.

The job listing was posted earlier this month, looking for a display expert to investigate “high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display.” Apple is requesting someone to “Analyze the trade-offs between design, process, optical performance, and implementation feasibility,” hinting that the company is considering introducing new, advanced display technology in the future.”

Flexible screens and new display tech has pushed industry rivals to bring a smartwatch to the market, and while Apple is often secretive about its plans, Samsung has been more vocal with its goals, and Google’s seemingly been just as proactive.  As these industry giants strive to lead the next gadget craze, a mix of innovative hardware and consumer services will be required if Apple, Samsung or Google hope to win in the long run.

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Here’s 6 things Apple, Samsung and Google should consider with a smartwatch launch:

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Bigger, flexible screen

When Samsung unveiled the Youm flexible OLED screen, we did a piece on possible uses, one of which is a smart slap bracelet, or slap smartphone.  Then the rumors regarding the iWatch being a slap bracelet type of device surfaced, which made me think I should change careers – just kidding!  Anyway, having the whole bracelet serve as a screen would solve the small screen problem that’s limited the success of the LG Watch Phone.  Plus, with its flexible nature, users can unroll it to expose a QWERTY keyboard for easier texting and e-mailing.

Smartwatch specifications

A SIM slot so it can connect to 2G, 3G and even 4G networks would enable users can call, text, browse the internet, download apps, video call and perform other activities that require a network carrier.  They could also support WiFi so data plans won’t be too quickly consumed.  Other specs we’d like to see include a loudspeaker, microSD slot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture. wireless or USB charging, long battery life, GPS, radio, 3.5mm jack, EDGE, GPRS, mic, supports HTML5 and Flash.

Personal assistant

Even if the iWatch or the S-Watch comes with a flexible and bigger screen, it will still be too small for some users.  A voice-activated personal assistant that can type messages for you, make notes, set up calendar appointments, search the web , post on social media, make new entries in the phonebook is needed.  But Apple and Samsung should make sure that it’s voice recognition technology is flawless, so it won’t be frustrating to use.

Camera

The iWatch and S-Watch should have an HD video call camera and a second camera for capturing what life has to offer.  If it’s a slap bracelet device, the camera can function as the main and video call camera.  If the smart watch looks something like the LG Watch Phone, the video call camera could be placed on the watch’s screen and the other camera will be placed on the right, left or top side of the watch, so the user can easily capture images without having to remove the watch.

Fitness tracker + other services

This is a huge deal nowadays as consumer-accessible data empowers individuals to improve through self-awareness.  So incorporating a step counter, calorie counter, distance tracker, heart rate monitor, blood pressure calculator, temperature reader, and hell, even blood glucose measurer  would make the watch a great fitness companion.

This is only one of many Consumer Services and Smart Apps a smartwatch could promote, leveraging its Personal Assistant capabilities to help with task and calendar management  meal planning, trip-planning and more.

Indestructible

Unlike a smartphone, the iWatch or S-Watch will be worn on the body, exposed to the elements for extended periods of time.  Its construction will need to be water, dust and klutz-resistant.

The iWatch or S-Watch should be waterproof (what it you could wear it while scuba diving, helping you monitor your oxygen saturation?); dustproof so you can withstand sandstorms because you’re just that much of a thrill-seeker; shatterproof because you’re that much of a klutz , and shockproof because you never know how your luck would turn out when you’re out.


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