Samsung, LG launch watches with new Google software

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SEOUL: South Korea’s Samsung and LG on June 26 (Thursday), launched rival smartwatches powered by Google’s new software, as they jostle to lead an increasingly competitive market for wearable devices, seen as the mobile industry’s next growth booster.

Samsung’s Gear Live and LG’s G Watch — both powered by Android Wear — are the first devices to adopt the new Google software, specifically designed for wearables.

G Watch — LG’s first smartwatch — is also equipped with Google’s voice recognition service and can perform simple tasks, including checking email, sending text messages and carrying out an online search at users’ voice command.

The two devices cannot make phone calls by themselves, but can be connected to many of the latest Android-based smartphones, the South Korean companies said in separate statements.

Samsung and LG are the world’s top and fourth-largest smartphone maker, respectively.

A typical smartwatch allows users to make calls, receive texts and emails, take photos and access apps.

G Watch opened on June 26 (Thursday) for online pre-order in 12 countries, including the US, France and Japan, before hitting stores in 27 more, including Brazil and Russia in early July. — AFP

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 27, 2014.