Can Samsung's standalone smartwatch be a game changer?

Can Samsung's standalone smartwatch be a game changer?

Summary: Samsung will reportedly launch a smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone attached to it via Bluetooth. Such a device would be welcome, assuming the electronics giant can combine all that functionality in a sleek package.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Samsung
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The problem with smartwatches to date has been that the devices have to be tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. As a result, the usefulness is limited to folks who need a companion device so they don't have to reach into their pocket.

gearfitneo05
Can Samsung shed the smartphone tethering with its next smartwatch?

Samsung is reportedly planning to change that condition. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company plans to launch a standalone smartwatch-meets-phone in the "next few months."

According to the Journal, the watch will be able to make and take calls without a smartphone. The watch will also take photos, send email, include GPS and a heart monitor.

Every smartwatch out there today requires a smartphone and which device you choose depends on app variety in many ways.

Also: Canalys: Pebble shipped more smart bands than Sony or Samsung in Q1 2014 | Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Fit review: Improved wearable tech with sleek designs

What's unclear is whether Samsung will be able to get the smartwatch/phone down in size enough to be palatable. Initially, I can't help but picture a small smartphone with a wristband attached to it.

The device will also use Samsung's Tizen operating system and take a SIM card.

There are a few major questions about this Samsung smartwatch, which is expected to be revealed in June or July. Among them:

  • How exactly will calls be made?
  • What's the battery life?
  • What are the logistics to taking a photo?
  • How will the data plans be sorted with existing contracts?
  • And how big will the watch face have to be to support the new functionality?

In any case, Samsung's smartwatch could be a game changer if it can really work well without a smartphone. A Dick Tracy watch is a geek's dream, but only if it actually converges and allows you to leave another gadget home.

Topics: Mobility, Samsung

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15 comments
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  • Oh the poor...poor...babies.

    "The problem with smartwatches to date has been that the devices have to be tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. As a result, the usefulness is limited to folks who need a companion device so they don't have to reach into their pocket."

    Imagine that...having to reach ALL THE WAY into your pocket for your phone. What a monumental effort.

    No...what a load of crap. The continued dumbing down...and making MORE lazy...of society continues.
    IT_Fella
    • You're missing the point, IT Fella

      It's illegal to drive and use the phone IN YOUR HAND at the same time, precisely because the stupid phone designs require you to hold them. Alternative used to be, that you had a speakerphone-type, hence the bluetooth headset. But that's now two pieces, and very cumbersome as well. If one could have a phone on the wrist instead, then one merely turns on the speaker and drives, without any complications. Making such a device, however -- hence the Dick Tracy chic -- has been problemmatic.

      I'd get such a watch if I could, but unlike many I don't want web-surfing capabilities. I just want a wrist phone. My cellphone thus stays old-fashioned, a RAZR fliphone which sits in a T-holster with a wristband that has also a C-chain. So it clips to briefcase or purse, and I undo the clip to wrist it while talking, or clip the T-holster to lapel or shoulder strap. Thus I'm hands-free. Frankly I don't use the phone while driving, but I could hear calls in and let the voice message center take over, then call back later.
      brainout
      • No he's not

        There are Bluetooth headsets, you know. Not one single state bans using them while driving (they could just as well ban driving while talking to the car passengers). So this is a non-issue. Besides, just think about it: if driving while holding your phone to your ear is bad, how is driving while holding your watch to your ear any safer?
        The smart watches will never replace the smartphones, just like the smartphones can never replace the full-blown computers. It's not the computing power, it's the size and form factor.
        Using a smart watch, you will only be able to perform a fraction of functions you normally perform using a smartphone. E-mail reading and responding? Forget it. E-book reading? Forget it. Maps and navigation? Forget it. Internet browsing? Forget it.
        And why would I want such device, when I'm already accustomed to have all these goodies on my mobile device?
        BaldObserverInBlackHat
    • watchphone

      Make it waterproof and I'm in!
      When i go swimming, fishing and boating, i can have a phone with me and not worry about having it in a plastic bag with a tether cable so i don't drop it in the water.
      I can go cycling and navigate unknown routes by voice guidance and have bike computer app without having to mount phone to bike. I can do indoor rock climbing and take pictures or snipe a bid on ebay halfway up, without having to worry about dropping the phone 100 feet.
      Furthermore, think of it as a phone radio module with minimal client end, small display.
      Then you never buy a smartphone ever again. You just buy a pocket tablet and tether by low energy bluetooth.
      Your watchphone doesn't need a fast processor. You buy the processing beef in your 5 or 6inch pocket tablet.
      If you like carrying an ipad or surface pro, you can ditch the smartphone.
      It's a game changer.
      warboat
  • Oh the poor...poor...babies.

    "The problem with smartwatches to date has been that the devices have to be tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. As a result, the usefulness is limited to folks who need a companion device so they don't have to reach into their pocket."

    Imagine that...having to reach ALL THE WAY into your pocket for your phone. What a monumental effort.

    No...what a load of crap. The continued dumbing down...and making MORE lazy...of society continues.
    IT_Fella
    • IT does not stand for Info. Tech.

      It's the 1st and last letter in IdioT... sheesh
      ScanBack
  • Smartwatch

    Really, only a few geeks are interested in wearable tech. Most geeks aren't either, in fact, nobody else is.
    hayneiii
    • I think you're right and my brilliant idea.

      How about a pocket protector as wearable tech? Maybe it can have a pop-out display so you only have to look down.
      rfoto
    • I have to agree - this ranks right up there with the same

      users of Google Glass - and man we have one guy at work and I have to say - it looks like the biggest geek ever, I mean downright silly. Just like that Subway commercial. That did NOT help the Google Glass cause at all!
      ScanBack
  • Wait!

    I have been looking at smartwatch phones for years. all kinds of watches that are also phones and need no phone to tether to. China makes them by the truckload and has for years. check out one of those cheapo Chinese sites like mixmelot and you will see atleast 4 dozen smart watch phones. Am I missing something?
    B_Manx
    • you are

      correct, they have been around for years, china had a watch phone running android a few year back.. ok it was big and bulky but yup.
      I had a burg watch phone a couple of years back.
      to be honest watch phones are ok, but I'm getting a bit fed up of everything being interconnected,
      Too many people are living their lives via their phones/devices and not actually expereincing and interacting... grumble grumble ...

      By the way zdnet according to ghostry you have 27 trackers on this page is that necissary?. seriously.. the one about ms tablets had 32....
      eatingacheesepastieforlunch
  • Your missing the point. It's not a watch! It's a Smartwatch.

    A Smartwatch will change your habits of life quickly. You will see an evolution every day. You will quickly move away from your smartphone. You will discover and you will like this new freedom. That way, I can confirm that the Samsung Smartwatch, as it is now, is a game changer. With the Phone and a GPS added it will become impossible to live without one. Everybody with a tablet or a computer will have no need for a Smartphone.

    Using a Smartwatch you will discover that there is no need for a big screen. No need to write anymore on a screen, you talk or dictate, and you don't have to read, you listen to messages , SMS or listen to a voice reading a book on your Smartwatch. S Voice from Samsung is incredibly good to that.

    Enjoy your Samsung Gear. A cool product from Samsung
    jpd514
  • Larry, the problem with Smart Watches isn't that they have to be tethered...

    ... Almost EVERYONE carries their phone with them constantly.

    No, the problem with smart watches, in case you've been under a rock (which surprises me since you're pretty on top of things) is that they've all been hideous tragedies (with the possible exception of the thin Samsung fit one) with worthless interface characteristics.

    THE LAST thing you want to do is increase complexity and size even MORE by rolling everything into ONE package. This will be a disaster.
    Playdrv4me
    • Personally think they are dumbest thing

      every and just a toy for geeks (which I consider myself) but wow. So give a guy Google glass and this thing and watch out - "Revenge of the Nerds" comes to mind!
      ScanBack
  • Just what we need...

    ...people talking to there watches
    what a noisy world the future is going to be
    everybody talking to everything except each other...
    thekman58