As fears mount that the smartphone market has become too saturated, a Samsung executive says the time has come to build a smart watch. If you think Samsung has concocted a wearable device just to counter the rumored Apple iWatch,  the executive VP of Samsung’s mobile business, Lee Young Hee, wants you to know that the company “has been preparing the watch product for so long.”

The Samsung exec also told Bloomberg that Samsung is “working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” Samsung just recently introduced its first wearable gadget for 2013 in the S Band, a Fitbit-like wristband that will sync with the S Health application in the upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone. A Samsung smart watch, however, would be able to do much more than tracks steps taken and calories burned.

According to a separate Reuters report, the Samsung smart watch will perform many of the tasks of the smartphone, although the source wouldn’t elaborate. If other smart phone watches on the market are any guide, such as the Martian Watch and I’m Watch, we would expect the Samsung device to make calls, offer some fitness functions, as well as deliver news and social updates at a glance. It’s also possible that Samsung will court developers to make apps for its watch, which could help the brand be even less reliant on Google’s services.

Meanwhile, Apple’s watch is said to offer many of the same features, with Bloomberg adding that the iWatch could also let you check your map coordinates and monitor your heart rate. 

Given that the stocks of Apple and Samsung are both struggling, the presumed hope is that forging into the smart watch category could be a huge new growth area. In fact, Citigroup estimates the global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales in 2013. And according to ABI Research, 485 million wearable devices will ship annually by 2018.

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This story was originally written for LAPTOP and is republished with permission here. Copyright 2012