AFP – Based on the recently unveiled Gear 2, Samsung’s next smartwatch is set to come with its own SIM card.
That means, if the report in the Korea Herald is accurate, that wearers will be able to use the watch for making voice calls and for surfing the net, with or without a smartphone.
The watch, which will be called the Gear Solo, is being developed primarily for the company’s home market of South Korea but, if it proves sufficiently popular, Samsung will consider launching it in other territories.
The smartwatch market is still at its nascent stage and it’s not yet clear which features consumers want from a wrist-worn electronic device. Do they want health and fitness tracking, a notifications centre for their phone, or do they want to talk into their wrist to make phone calls?
A study conducted and published by ABI Research in March reveals that thus far, what companies are offering and what potential smartwatch owners want is already moving out of sync—especially if that potential customer is already a premium watch wearer.
Those who wouldn’t think twice about spending between $1000 and $5000 on a “normal” wristwatch, who were interviewed as part of the report, cited a fashionable look and feel plus voice command and control as crucial smartwatch functions.
Yet despite not thinking twice about spending potentially thousands of dollars on a watch, they would find it hard to spend $500 on a watch packed with tech features, even if they were features that really made a difference.
Consumers who don’t buy into the premium watch market believe that a smartwatch should cost between US$50-US$200 and for that they would expect the device to feature text and call alerts and caller ID as standard.
Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research stated, “At present, smartwatch vendors are going for somewhat of a scattergun approach to smartwatch design. They are typically over delivering with 12 or more features per product and hoping that three of them stick. This recent research clearly shows that a more targeted, segmented and use-case driven approach to design is needed.”
Samsung is in danger of falling into this trap. Since September, the company has already launched four devices that could be considered smartwatches—the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, and the Samsung Gear Fit. The Solo will make it five watches in less than eight months.
Nevertheless, the smartwatch market is expected to heat up considerably over the course of 2014. Devices from LG, Motorola and HTC are expected and are set to be powered by a special version of Android optimised for wearable technology devices, while Apple is also expected to launch its first smartwatch, dubbed the “iWatch” by tech sites and blogs, in September.
By which point Samsung may well have launched another four watches.