South Korea – Samsung Electronics Co. is working on a smartwatch that will work as a stand-alone phone. It means, the Galaxy Gear 3 smartwatch will feature a slot for SIM card.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the South Korean technology company has plans to debut the watch within the next few months. Unlike most other smartwatches on the market, this watch will not need to be connected to a smartphone to operate. Instead, users will be able to make calls, check emails, and surf the web by just using the watch alone.
Samsung’s new watch will run on the Tizen operating system. The system was co-developed with Intel Corp. in an effort to better compete with rivaling companies such as Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL). Currently, Samsung is in talks with telecom companies across the globe with a goal of releasing the new smartwatch in June or July.
The new watch is said to be able to perform a variety of tasks. It will be able to monitor a user’s blood pressure, take pictures, receive and send emails, and use GPS services. The watch will also be able to make phone calls, and will not rely on a smartphone to do so. Instead, Samsung’s new smartwatch will come with its own SIM card. The company has not yet said how talking on the phone will work and if users will have to hold the watch up to their mouths to make phone calls.
While Samsung’s new smartwatch is one of the first watches that will not have to be connected to a smartphone, many analysts are skeptical on how well it will sell.
“There’s still the question of why people really need to buy smartwatches today,” said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities in Seoul. “Samsung is estimated to be the dominant vendor of wearables, but it will take quite a bit of time for sales to contribute to the company’s earnings,” he said.
Lee Seung-woo then added that the market for smartwatches is far weaker than the market for smartphones. Even so, the market-research firm IDC expects that the wearable device market, which includes smartwatches, is set the triple this year to over 19 million shipments. In comparison, smartphones are expected to have 1.2 billion shipments this year.
Although Samsung’s new watch is an innovative idea, the company is also using it to better test out its Tizen operating system. In the near future, Samsung wants to have the system work with a number of products, including refrigerators, cameras, and air conditioners.