Samsung Electronics has applied for US and South Korean trademarks for a watch that connects to the Internet in the latest sign that consumer technology companies see wearable devices as the future of their business.
Samsung described "Samsung Galaxy Gear" as a wearable digital electronic device in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle in its July 29 application with US Patent and Trademark Office. A month earlier, it applied for a "Samsung Gear" trademark in South Korea.
The trademark applications did not show the shape of the products, but drawings from a Samsung design patent approved in May show a watch-like design with a flexible screen that curves around the wrist.
The US trademark application said the device will be "capable of providing access to the Internet, for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages" as well as "for keeping track of or managing personal information."
The filings show that Samsung is deep in preparations for what tech industry experts expect will be a new generation of mobile technology that dramatically expands the utility of single-function objects such as watches and glasses.
The South Korean consumer electronics giant was caught out by Apple's invention of the smartphone but through what turned out to be a legally risky strategy of imitation was able to capture a dominant share of the global smartphone market within a few years.
Apple applied in June for a trademark in Japan for "iWatch." Industry watchers have long speculated that Apple is working on a smart watch that uses a version of the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad.
The company has not confirmed those rumours but its chief executive Tim Cook has hinted it may be developing a wearable computing device.
Meanwhile, Google is testing an early version of Internet-connected spectacles called Glass. It uses a small screen above the right eye that displays information and imagery retrieved from the Internet.