Samsung Mobile Reveals Circular Smartwatch

luvsmiling, Sept. 2, 2015, 7:33 a.m.

Samsung unveiled its first circular smartwatch on Tuesday. The Gear S2 boasts improved design and functions but lacks much in the way of software applications. Samsung's task, according to industry watchers, is to create an app market that rivals Apple, which has 3,000 apps available for its smart device users. 

The Gear S2 looks like a traditional circular watch, the only one in Samsung's lineup of seven so far. Most smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, are square since they have to use operating systems developed for smartphones and tablets with rectangular frames.

Samsung overcame the dilemma by using its own OS called Tizen, which can be modified to fit a circular screen. It also ensured that users would be able to intuitively navigate the Gear S2's functions, the company claims. Turning the bezel left enables call and text messaging functions, while turning it to the right causes the screen to display the smartwatches apps. 

The Gear S2 is simpler to use than the Gear S, which had to be navigated by a small touch screen. Apple Watch users have to turn a small knob to enable the smartwatch's functions.

What distinguishes the Gear S2 from the Apple Watch is its independent call function. Gear S2 users can make and receive calls without depending on a smartphone, and the 3G version is waterproof and resistant to vibration, enabling phone calls and text messaging while swimming, jogging or mountain climbing. 

The Gear S2 can also be recharged wirelessly and allegedly has a battery life of two to three days, which is not possible on the Apple Watch. The Gear S2 and Apple Watch are basically in the same league in terms of overall hardware. They are similar in terms of DRAM capacity, screen size, clarity, processing speed, thickness and weight. But the Gear S2's storage capacity is 4 GB, only half of that of the Apple Watch. 

Unlike the Gear S, which was compatible only with Samsung smartphones, the Gear S2 can be linked to any smartphone using the Android OS. Samsung plans to announce the price tag and launch schedule in Berlin on Thursday, a day before the opening of the IFA electronics show there. The Apple Watch, which was unveiled in April, is leading the global market for smartwatches. Samsung, which held the No. 1 spot with a 30-percent market share last year, now ranks second. 

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, a total of some four million Apple Watches have been sold accounting for 75 percent of the market. According to design and technology blog Gizmodo, there are 3,000 apps for the Apple Watch alone. Gizmodo said the Gear S2, which has not created an app ecosystem, will have a tough time getting ahead of the Apple Watch. 

The key lies in how many apps Samsung manages to develop for the Gear S2. LG, Huawei, Motorola and other global smartphone makers are also scheduled to unveil new smartwatches at the IFA. LG plans to unveil gold-plated smartwatch, Urbane Luxe, that costs W1.4 million (US$1=W1,177).

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