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Sony Corporation (ADR) (SNE), Google Inc (GOOG): The Coming Wave of Smartwatches

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Will the smartwatch prove to be the next hot personal electronic device? Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) probably hope so.

Earlier in the week, Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) unveiled its SmartWatch 2 (set to go on sale in September). While both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are rumored to have similar devices in the works. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) has said it’s been working on a smartwatch for a while, though no firm release date has been set.

Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)

Sony’s SmartWatch 2

Many readers are probably asking themselves, “SmartWatch 2? There was a SmartWatch 1?”

Yes, Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) released an Android-based smartwatch last year. Unfortunately for the Japanese electronics giant, the device failed to catch on. Although it provided all the functionality one would expect, users complained of numerous bugs.

PCMag liked the device, but concluded that it was largely a toy for geeks — it wasn’t good enough to appeal to a mainstream audience.

The SmartWatch 2 will go on sale in September. It’s larger, has a better display, longer battery life, and more easily pairs with any Android phone. Hopefully Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s second effort is better than its first.

Samsung’s next Galaxy device?

Samsung has said it’s working on its own smartwatch, although it hasn’t given any technical details, nor has it said when consumers could expect to buy it.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930)’s watch might have a better chance at catching on than Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s. Given the widespread popularity of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930)’s Galaxy phones, consumers might be more willing to purchase their smartphone companion from a company that leads the industry.

At any rate, it’s hard to speculate on the success of the device without seeing it. But investors should keep an eye on its compatibility. Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s watch will work with any Android phone — would Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) restrict its watch to only working with Galaxy devices?

If Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) were to limit it to Galaxy devices, it would help to create a sense of consumer loyalty — someone who sinks a couple hundred dollars into a watch is more likely to stick with Samsung’s phones, less their watch become useless.

Apple has hinted an iWatch is in the works

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been rumored to be working on a watch for months now. And though the Cupertino tech giant has never confirmed it, management has hinted strongly that a watch is forthcoming.

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