Tech giants Samsung and LG both unveiled plans today to release new smartwatches to the public.
Samsung's latest smartwatch model will be shown in Berlin next week, and is set to enjoy a worldwide launch in early October. The smartwatch will be called "Gear S," and boasts the support of 3G wireless networks.
This means that, unlike its predecessor, Gear S can make and receive phone calls without being linked to a smartphone, indicating that it is a truly standalone wearable device. Samsung also partnered with Nike to install health applications such as a pedometer and heart rate monitor, and the watch is even able to receive notifications from Facebook and Twitter. Built-in GPS allows the Gear S to give turn-by-turn walking navigation to its wearer.
Perhaps most importantly, though, the device will be compatible with SMS services that will allow consumers to use it in much the same way they use their smartphone — to stay in touch easily and efficiently. Users will be able to type messages with the watch's onscreen keyboard, or go hands-free by dictating texts with the smartwatch's voice recognition software.
LG's smartwatch, called G Watch R, is Android-based and will be operated by Google's Android Wear system. The Wall Street Journal reports that the battery life, microprocessor, and memory capabilities will be similar to its previous model, the G Watch. The G Watch R will come with four GB of storage and will be largely water-resistant, able to be submerged for 30 minutes in up to a meter of water. LG's smartwatch will also have a round shaped display, which is an aesthetic novelty as most smartwatches now available come with rectangular faces. This device will be available at some point during the fourth quarter.
The competition to corner the market on smartwatch devices is obviously fierce, which should pay off for consumers by resulting in the highest-functioning technologies currently available. We'll have to wait to see if either smartwatch truly lives up to the hype.