The tech world is just full of surprises ahead of the IFA Berlin tradeshow, which starts next week. The very same evening that LG announced its round-faced G Watch R, Samsung outed a new 3G-capable smartwatch even Dick Tracy could love--and a Bluetooth headphone-necklace thing.
Gear S smartwatch
Samsung's new Tizen-based Gear S smartwatch features 3G and 2G connectivity so that users can "make and receive calls directly from their wrist, or get calls forwarded from their smartphones," according to the company.
Yes, smartwatch fans, it appears this wristwear makes phone calls. The Gear S connects to 3G over 900/2100Mhz or 850/1900MHz frequencies and the smartwatch's 2G connnectivity will be 900/1800 or 850/1900. For 3G, 850/1900 are the two frequencies used by AT&T, while T-Mobile offers calls on the 2100MHz band.
It appears Samsung will release two versions of the phone with different 3G connectivity pairings. Since AT&T uses 850/1900MHz, chances are good those are the frequencies packed into a potential U.S. version of the device.
The Gear S features a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display with 360-by-480 resolution, 4GB of onboard storage, and 512MB RAM. Other goodies packed into the smartwatch include GPS, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, a heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass, and a barometer.
Since this is a Tizen-based watch you can forget about pairing it with your smartphone to get Google Now notifications like you would with an Android Wear device. Nevertheless, the Gear S still has some tricks up its sleeve.
The watch integrates with Samsung's S Health platform as well as Nike+ Running. With built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, and 3G connectivity, the watch will also have great location accuracy. The device offers turn-by-turn navigation, with maps supplied by Here, a division of the now Lumia-less Nokia.
The Gear S also comes with news and weather apps, a music player, and gallery. Similar to Samsung's other smartwatches, the Gear S is dust and water resistant with an IP67 rating.
Circle of sound
Samsung also announced the Gear Circle, a pair of Bluetooth headphones that you can use for phone calls, music listening, and to send voice commands to your phone. When you're not using the headphones, they have a magnetic lock that lets you wear them like a necklace around your neck. The Gear Circle will even vibrate to let you know when your phone has an incoming call or app notifications.
The Gear S and Gear Circle are slated for a phased global rollout beginning in October. There's no word on a specific U.S. launch date or pricing.
While the introduction of the Gear S and Gear Circle are interesting, we expect to see a lot more from Samsung during IFA including the Galaxy Note 4 as well as a demo of Gear VR. Samsung's IFA event, Unpacked 2014, is slated for September 3.