LG and Samsung on Thursday have unveiled new wearable products ahead of IFA 2014. LG has gone ahead and detailed the G Watch R circular smartwatch it had teased earlier this week. Samsung on the other hand, has unveiled two new wearable products - the much-rumoured Gear S smartwatch with 3G connectivity and voice calling, and the Gear Circle Bluetooth headset.
Samsung will make its Gear S and Gear Circle available in global markets in phases, starting October this year. LG would also make the G Watch R available to users in the fourth quarter of this year. The G Watch R will also be showcased at the upcoming IFA 2014 event. The companies have not disclosed the prices of the devices.
The Samsung Gear S allows users to make and receive calls via 2G or 3G, and also offers Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi connectivity. Samsung says the smartwatch will always remain connected, and can also switch between multiple networks to stay synchronised with the paired smartphone.
Running on the company's own Tizen operating system, the Gear S now has a separate slot for a SIM card (size unspecified) on the back panel along with the heart rate sensor and four pogo pins.
The Gear S features a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display with a 360x480 pixel resolution. A dual-core 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM powers the Samsung Gear S. It comes with 4GB of inbuilt storage and is backed by a 300mAh Li-ion battery, rated to deliver 2 days of charge with typical usage.
The IP67-certified dust and water resistant Gear S shows notifications from text messages, social networks, calendars and other applications independently without the need to access the smartphone. Samsung is also touting S Voice functionality for dictating and voice commands, apart from the onscreen keyboard.
Samsung has included its own S Health app, apart from Nike+ Running, to help users track their health statistics. Also onboard is turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation provided via Here Maps, a 24-hour news service from the Financial Times, and more. The device will be available in Black and White colour variants.
"Samsung is leading this exciting and rapidly developing wearable category through progressive innovation," said JK Shin, CEO and head of IT & mobile communication at Samsung Electronics. "The Samsung Gear S redefines the idea of the smart wearable and the culture of mobile communication. It will let consumers live a truly connected life anywhere, anytime."
Samsung, along with Gear S, also unveiled the Gear Circle. The Samsung Gear Circle is a Bluetooth 3.0-enabled in-ear headset that clasps around the users' neck via a magnetic lock when not in use. The headphone can be paired with the smartphone to make/ receive calls, access music, and take S Voice and other voice commands from users. To alert users for an incoming call, Gear Circle also comes with a vibrating function. The device is backed by a 180mAh Li-ion battery rated to deliver 300 hours of standby time, 11 hours of talk time and 9 hours of music play time.
LG also made it into the news on Thursday by officially announcing its G Watch R, following in Motorola's footsteps to release a smartwatch with a circular dial because of the interest generated in the Moto 360. The company had first teased the smartwatch earlier this week. Both Samsung and LG already have square-shaped smartwatches in the market, with the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live.
The LG G Watch R features a circular 1.3-inch Plastic OLED or P-OLED display, a technology first seen with the LG's G Flex smartphone. The display comes with a 360x360 pixel resolution and unlike the Moto 360, is claimed to utilise 100 percent of the watch face.
Falling under the Android Wear umbrella, the G Watch R is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor paired with 512MB of RAM. The smartwatch features the same amount of inbuilt storage as the Gear S (4GB), and is backed by a 410mAh battery. The smartwatch is also IP6-certified and is claimed by the firm to run for 30 minutes in 1 metre of water.
The LG G Watch R features voice recognition notifications that can provide information related to missed calls, upcoming meetings, events, and local weather forecasts. As for the health features, the smartwatch includes a suite of LG health and fitness apps along with the ability to track users' heartbeats via the embedded photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. Other sensors on the G Watch R are the 9-axis (gyro/ accelerometer/ compass), and barometer.
The G Watch R smartwatch features a stainless steel frame, and supported by a 22mm calf skin leather strap. The G Watch R will be available in only Black colour.
"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," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company in a press statement. "Wearables are also accessories and consumers will want more than one to choose from. So we wanted to complement the modern design of the original G Watch with the classic look of the G Watch R. Customers can't go wrong with either device."