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Samsung’s Confusing New Smartwatch Coming Soon

23 May, 2014 | Article Source: Rob LaPointe  |   (No Comments) | 22,020 Views

Samsung is rumored to be releasing yet another new smartwatch in the coming months. This will be their fourth smartwatch model released this year, following the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit. The new watch will have its own SIM card and GPS, along with the rest of the Gear line’s goodies, like a camera, heart rate sensor, etc. The question everyone is asking now is, “wait, why would we need this?”

The original report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which appears pretty confidant in the story. Evidently Samsung will stick to Tizen, despite Android Wear’s imminent release, and the usual Samsung-only compatibility is assumed (though somewhat less relevant now that you can use it as an independent device).

Samsung is definitely the world leader in cramming features into smartwatches, though whether that’s what consumers really want is still up in the air (hint: it’s probably not). But there are certainly a few niche cases where an untethered, network-connected smartwatch might be desirable.

First, the case of the WiFi hotspot, in which the Gear user can use the watch to connect other devices to the internet via WiFi tether. This would essentially mean the Gear user would be wearing a potential WiFi hotspot on their wrist at all times. This would be helpful for users who would like internet access from a more productive device, like a tablet or laptop. Admittedly this is already something that can be done with a cell phone, so buying a new smartwatch for that sole purpose isn’t really efficient.

Second, people who hate carrying a cell phone might be able to ditch their device entirely. Though I imagine holding a watch up to your head won’t be an appealing solution for most people who need to make calls. Luckily there are fancy bluetooth earpieces that could connect to the watch, meaning your whole experience would be through wearables, which is a neat idea. You’d never need pockets, at least. Again, though, you can already pair an earpiece to a smartphone, so you don’t really gain much in the way of new capabilities.

Third, tethering any device to a smartphone will drain the smartphone’s battery faster, so conceivably this could be seen as a way of conserving the battery life of the smartphone by routing some of your data traffic to the watch instead. For instance, downloading Foursquare/Swarm onto the watch instead of the phone to benefit from all the location-based fun without using your smartphone battery at all. That, of course, assumes that the apps you want will be available on Samsung’s platform…

The whole question of battery life is still a mystery for the new watch, but the Gear 2 claims 2-3 days, and reviews tend to settle on ~2 days with frequent use, which isn’t bad. LTE connection will put a big dent in that time, but as long as the watch can last a whole day it at least meets a bare minimum for convenience.

To conclude, I guess I’ll have to say “wait and see” on this one. I’m having trouble coming up with a compelling use case for an untethered smartwatch, but maybe someone out there (or at Samsung) has more imagination than me. If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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