IN a surprise move, Samsung this morning revealed details of its first round smartwatches, days before their official launch at one of the world’s biggest technology trade shows.
The South Korean technology giant not only showed off new photos of its Gear 2 watches — its first smartwatch in a full year — but revealed the two models would offer features that would top its rival and new smartwatch leader Apple on several fronts.
New features in the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic will include a round 1.2-inch (3cm) screen, a battery life of up to three days, NFC technology for use as a mobile payment system, and around-the-clock fitness tracking.
The more advanced smartwatch of the pair, the Gear S2, will even be able to use its own SIM card and operate independently of a smartphone to make calls and send text messages from the wearer’s wrist.
Samsung chief executive officer JK Shin said the new smartwatches represented the company’s “most progressive” wearable technology after two years making smartwatches.
“For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market,” he said.
“It is the perfect complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout, and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun.”
Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches will also feature a rotating border, back and home buttons, a dual-core 1GHz chip, the company’s Tizen software, and a Bluetooth connection to deliver notifications to their screens from a connected smartphone.
The smartwatch will be shown off in public for the first time at the IFA trade show in Berlin later this week, as well as the watches’ first apps.
Despite being the first major phone maker to release smartwatches, Samsung recently dropped to fifth place in the wearable technology market, with IDC crowning Fitbit the biggest seller in the second quarter of the year, followed by Samsung rival Apple.
But Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said Apple had stolen all the attention with its Apple Watch in the first half of this year, paving the way for a comeback for those with Google Android phones.
“It’s the very early stages of the (smartwatch) marketplace,” he said.
“The market is ripe for innovation that is better than those (Apple) products.”
More smartwatches are expected to be released at IFA in Berlin, including products from Motorola and Huawei.
A Samsung Electronics Australia spokesperson confirmed the Gear S2 smartwatch would “arrive in Australia soon,” though would not reveal a price saying it would be made public “closer to the Australian launch”.