In response to Apple and Nike's growing relationship, Samsung is trying to create a similar deal with sportswear giant Under Armour, according to reports out of Korea.
Lee Jay-yong, a top Samsung exec and chairman's son, met earlier this month with Kelvin Plank, CEO of the U.S.-based sports clothing, shoes, and equipment maker. They discussed the possibility of the companies partnering on wearable technology that would rival some of the efforts that Apple and Nike have undertaken with their increasingly close partnership, Korea-based Yonhap News reported, citing people who claim to have knowledge of those discussions.
If Samsung is indeed looking to partner with Under Armour on wearables to combat Apple, it could be construed as rather odd. Apple has yet to actually release a wearable device that can rival the smartwatches or smartbands available today, and the company has provided no indication that anything -- including the long-rumored iWatch -- is actually coming.
Despite that, speculation abounds that the days are counting down to an iWatch launch, and Nike could play a crucial role in its functionality. Earlier this month, reports surfaced, saying that Nike would start to draw down its own Fuelband wearables to work alongside Apple in improving the sensor and health technology built into the iPhone maker's iWatch. Nike and Apple have been working on health-related technologies since 2006, when the Nike + iPod Sport Kit was announced.
The big question for Samsung, which has several wearable devices on the market, including the Gear Fit and Gear Live, is whether Under Armour, a top competitor for Nike in sportswear, is willing to enter the technology market in such a big way. Under Armour appears to have some interest in wearables after it acquired health app-maker MapMyFitness. The company has not, however, made any definitive calls that wearables will be its next frontier. For now, clothing is still the central component in its business.
The wearable market is expected to be a major ecosystem for companies in the next several years. By 2018, wearable tech revenue is expected to hit $19 billion, though some analysts have said that figure could grow even higher.
Yonhap provided few details on what Samsung and Under Armour might do if they sign a deal.
CNET has contacted both Samsung and Under Armour for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.