South Korean consumer electronics giants Samsung and LG both announced new additions to their wearable device portfolios, although the former has taken more of a step away from existing products with the inclusion of mobile connectivity in its Gear S.
Samsung Gear S
The Samsung device is also notable in that it maintains the vendor’s use of Tizen in the wearables space, against a backdrop of struggles for the fledgling platform in the smartphone market. It also supports turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation powered by Nokia’s Here unit, replacing the Google Maps used as default in Android devices.
The device also features a curved LED display, giving a design that is somewhere between a dedicated smartwatch and a fitness band.
The addition of 3G support means that the device is more capable on a standalone basis than previous products which have largely been smartphone companions, and Samsung said that it enables users to “seamlessly make and receive calls directly from their wrist, or get calls forwarded from their smartphones”.
Of course, this will require a SIM card and operator subscription, adding additional cost.
It will be available in global markets “in phases” through the vendor’s own retail channels, e-commerce websites and operators.
LG G Watch R
Contrastingly, LG has gone for a new design, with its round-faced G Watch R – set to be showcased at IFA next week – said to be “the world’s first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilises 100 per cent of its watch face”.
It runs the Android Wear platform, and is water-resistant.
Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics’ Mobile Communications business, said: “What we’ve noticed in the year of the wearable is that this is a category that can’t be compared to smartphones and tablets. Wearables are also accessories and consumers will want more than one to choose from.”
The sibling device, G Watch, which has a comparable specification, is priced at £159 in the UK market.
The device will be available in “key markets” early in Q4.