Samsung Gear S
Samsung's range of smartwatches is expanding at a very fast pace, and this latest Tizen-based offering, the Samsung Gear S, makes the original Tizen offerings look rather clunky.
We've covered Tizen before, but a brief version of this operating system's long and very complicated story would be to say that this is a open source Linux-based operating system that has Samsung as one of the primary development partners. Tizen is functionally similar to Android, but it is completely independent from that platform.
So far the only Tizen devices commercially available are smartwatches (as the Samsung Z smartphone seems to be delayed) but the twist with this particular smartwatch is that it also takes a SIM card and it doesn't need to be paired with another phone at all. Does this mean that the Gear S is also a tiny wrist-mounted smartphone in it's own right? Quite possibly.
But perhaps the most obvious external difference between the Gear S and previous generations of wrist-mounted devices is the curved display which makes the device look sleek and elegant, and all the previous generations look like clunkers.
As well as having built-in 2G and 3G support, the Gear S also has WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 and USB 2.0 connectivity plus GPS and GLONASS positioning systems, a full set of sensors including a heart rate and UV monitor, plus a media player plus a set of other applications. All of this is built around a device with a 1.0GHz dual-core CPU with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, a 2.0" 360 x 480 pixel AMOLED display and a 300 mAh battery. Heck, we've seen fully-blown smartphones with less power than that, but all this wraps up in a package measuring just 40 x 58 x 12.5mm. Usefully, the Gear S is water and dust resistant to IP67 specifications too.
Although this all seems very new, it is worth remembering Samsung were doing something somewhat similar five years ago with the S9110 watch phone, although that was a 2G device with pretty limited functionality, but like the Gear S it could make phone calls by itself.
Samsung say that the Gear S should be available from October onwards. No guidance was given on price, but we would expect it to be significantly more than the current retail price of around €300 for the less powerful Gear 2.
Samsung Gear S
GSM 900 / 1800 or 850 / 1900
UMTS 900 / 2100 or 850 / 1900
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + WiFi
2.0" 360 x 480 pixels
40 x 58 x 12.5mm
Yes (plus GLONASS)
2 day use (300 mAh cell)