Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Samsung has introduced the Gear S Smartwatch. It appears that competitors in the wearable device market are attempting to pre-empt Apple Inc., who recently scheduled Sept. 9 as the much-anticipated day for new product launches. Other manufacturers, such as the South Korean LG Electronics, have also introduced upgrades to some of their models of smartwatches.
The Samsung Gear includes many intriguing features such as 3G connectivity, which allows users to make and receive calls without a smartphone. The users can also receive notifications from friends and followers on the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and with the use of the virtual keyboard and the embedded voice recognition technology it is just as easy to send and receive SMS text messages
The Gear S, introduced by Samsung, is powered by the unheralded Tizen open-source operating system, and there will be much discussion as to why this was chosen in place of other popular operating systems, such as Google Android Wear, which offers a wider range of compatibility for other competitors. Nevertheless, the curved Super AMOLED display, measuring two inches diagonally, is slighter bigger than the screens on Samsung smartwatches, and with the mapping data supplied by Nokia’s Here service, wearers can gain easy access to GPS turn-by-turn directions. The curved display is also expected to be a more comfortable fit around the wrist.
The Gear S, along with the Gear Circle headset, is expected to be available from October of this year, 2014. The recently introduced Gear Circle headset is a wireless headset that connects with the smartphone, and with Bluetooth connectivity, the wearer can be alerted to incoming calls or listen to music played on the phone. When not in use, the device can be worn around the neck, in the same fashion as a necklace. There has been no indication of the price, or of the availability to the North American market, but observers expect it to be competitively priced.
Observers and Analysts are observing the intrigue that is rapidly accelerating in the wearable computer space as the market develops. At this point Samsung is the leader in a market that is just beginning, and a virtual assault of smartwatches is expected. The world has been waiting for Apple’s iWatch, and Motorola is also expected to announce the introduction of a new smartwatch. It is expected that the number of smartwatches shipped will exceed 37 million units by 2015, and there is a developing debate as to how and when the market for traditional mechanical watches may or may not be affected.
At the same time that Samsung has introduced the Gears S, LG Electronics Inc. has unveiled a new G Watch R, that features a classic 1.3 inch round screen, which is a departure from the rectangular appearance of the current models of smartwatches. The new G Watch R is powered by Google’s Android Wear operating system, and LG has not yet indicated the dates of release or expected prices, but indicate that it can be expected in the fourth quarter of this year, 2014.
By Dale Davidson