While Google is making Android Wear the software platform for the next wave of wearables, Samsung is doing its own thing on the hardware side. It is putting forth SIMBAND as an open sensor platform that can be used to usher in a new generation of wearables that focus on health.
Let’s get this out of the way first. SIMBAND isn’t a consumer device. It is quite simply a platform that could be used to develop consumer devices. Samsung calls it an “Investigational Device”, really meant more for research and development. As a development platform, Samsung wants to leverage the power of the community by making every part open. The hardware is open, the software is open, the mechanical design is open. The open reference sensor module, which is the size of an SD card and is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex A7 chip, can work with any advanced sensors, either from Samsung or from other vendors. The key point is to get as much people working towards the same goal.
And Samsung has a rather ambitious vision for that goal, one that is probably shared by any wearable device manufacturer. It envisions a health-centric wearable device that can give users the deepest and most accurate insight into their health, without sacrificing privacy and security, and without having to charge every half day or so. For the battery and charging, Samsung is planning something rather special called a Shuttle Battery. Instead of charging the smartwatch, or any wearable, directly, you instead charge the battery charger which you then plug into the smartwatch, without having to remove it from your wrist.
When it comes to the software side of the platform, Samsung isn’t exactly being talkative. While there is mention of open software, that pretty much covers both Android and Tizen, the latter of which is its latest darling for its wearables. Then there is also Android Wear, based on Android but more formally designed for such devices, though Samsung hasn’t exactly expressed or hinted at any interest in the new platform.