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Can Samsung’s standalone smartwatch be a game changer?

David Smothers May 23, 2014

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The problem with smartwatches to date has been that the devices have to be tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. As a result, the usefulness is limited to folks who need a companion device so they don't have to reach into their pocket.

Samsung is reportedly planning to change that condition. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company plans to launch a standalone smartwatch-meets-phone in the "next few months."

According to the Journal, the watch will be able to make and take calls without a smartphone. The watch will also take photos, send email, include GPS and a heart monitor.

Every smartwatch out there today requires a smartphone and which device you choose depends on app variety in many ways.

What's unclear is whether Samsung will be able to get the smartwatch/phone down in size enough to be palatable. Initially, I can't help but picture a small smartphone with a wristband attached to it.

The device will also use Samsung's Tizen operating system and take a SIM card.

There are a few major questions about this Samsung smartwatch, which is expected to be revealed in June or July. Among them:

How exactly will calls be made?

  • What's the battery life?
  • What are the logistics to taking a photo?
  • How will the data plans be sorted with existing contracts?
  • And how big will the watch face have to be to support the new functionality?
  • In any case, Samsung's smartwatch could be a game changer if it can really work well without a smartphone. A Dick Tracy watch is a geek's dream, but only if it actually converges and allows you to leave another gadget home.

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