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​Samsung takes a time-out on smartwatches as Apple Watch launch nears

Samsung is taking a breather from its frantic smartwatch release schedule, preferring for the moment to play a watching-and-waiting game.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

Samsung was one of the biggest producers of smartwatches in the years leading up to the launch of the Apple Watch but now the company is taking a pause to rethink its strategy.

The Korean company hasn't been shy of trying out new designs to appeal to various consumer tastes in the emerging smartwatch category, having released everything from simple fitness bands like the Gear Fit to the Tizen-powered 3G Gear S, with core specs not far off some low-end smartphones.

Indeed, Samsung has launched six smart watches in just 14 months, as analyst firm Canalys noted recently. This propelled it to the top spot among 'smart band' makers, who shipped 4.6 million units in total last year.

But unlike last year's Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, which were launched alongside the Galaxy S5, this year's release of the Galaxy 6S at the MWC trade show came with no companion smartwatch.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that's because Samsung is taking a "pause" as it ponders what it means to create the perfect smartwatch.

"We've been introducing more devices than anybody else. It's time for us to pause," Young-hee Lee, head of Samsung global marketing team for mobile products, told the paper. She added that Samsung wanted "a more perfect product".

Obviously, Samsung's brief time-out comes as Apple readies to unveil the finished version of the Apple Watch next week, with sales expected to begin in April

But if perfection means utterly dominating a particular segment, then many analysts expect Apple, rather than Samsung, will attain this. Some predict the Apple Watch could account for as much as 90 percent of smartwatch sales within its first year, selling between 10 million and 20 millio devices. At that rate, the Apple Watch could possibly account for three times the sales of all brands of smartwatches last year.

Read more on smartwatches

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