Samsung Gets Ready to Launch 'Gear Solo' Smartwatch with SIM Card

Samsung Gets Ready to Launch 'Gear Solo' Smartwatch with SIM Card

by Chris Thomas on 26 May 2014 · 2723 views

1 large Samsung Gets Ready to Launch Gear Solo Smartwatch with SIM Card

Samsung is reportedly getting ready to launch a new SIM card equipped smartwatch called the Gear Solo.

The new mini smartphone on a wristband will be the latest addition to Samsung's 'Gear' line of smartwatches that have been unveiled in recent months.

Reports from earlier this year announced the upcoming release of the much-anticipated device, but a recent article in The Wall Street Journal indicates that we could be seeing a Summer release between June and July.

Earlier reports also mention a few exclusive service contracts with Korean, US, and European cell carriers, so it is still uncertain if or when the Gear Solo will be made available elsewhere.

With that said, it is highly likely that Samsung will be selling a SIM card equipped smartwatch in the global market before the close of 2015.

The First Smartwatch that Functions as a Standalone Smartphone

Samsung has been pioneering the wearable tech sector with smartwatches like the Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit.

The key feature that differentiates the new Gear Solo from its predecessors is that it is capable of placing and receiving calls without being paired to a smartphone - hence the name "Solo."

Previous smartwatches required you to pair a smartphone in order to receive calls, and you still didn't have the option to place calls from the smartwatch itself.

In addition to fully functional cell service, the new Gear Solo will be able to send emails and take pictures, and it will even have a built-in heart monitor. The device is being developed with the help of Intel and will be powered by the Tizen mobile operating system. 

Gear Solo Specs, Pricing, and Other Details

According to a listing leaked on an Indian import website, the Gear Solo will be shipping with the product code name SM-R710.

The site (Zauba.com), which provides detailed import data, revealed that on May 20th several units and related accessories shipped out of South Korea via Banglore Air Cargo.

The listing specified that the units were for research and development purposes, which coincides with a potential June or July release date.

Although the device has been listed with a retail price of 12,292 Rs or approximately $210 (in the aforementioned Zauba.com listing), we should expect to see a higher debut price when the Solo hits markets in about a month or two - most likely more like $250-$300.

The gadget will come with an embedded SIM card and built-in receiver, which gives it the advantage of being compatible with various carrier networks, several of which Samsung has reportedly been in communications with. 

Other smartwatches in the Gear line can only receive calls and send text messages if they're linked to a Samsung smartphone.

Samsung has declined to comment on the device and no other particular specs have been released.

But Will Smartwatch Cell Phones Really Catch On?

While the idea certainly sounds great, there has been skepticism surrounding whether or not this type of device will be capable of producing the same volume of sales as existing Samsung mobile phones like the Galaxy S5.

With the way the markets are trending it appears that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in mobile phones with large displays, as is evident by the recent welcoming of phablets (phones that are almost the size of small tablet PCs).

Samsung apparently already had the idea to launch a watchphone way back in 1999, when it released the first ever watch-mounted mobile phone - the SPH-WP10 - to a poor commercial response. However, wearable tech wasn't what it is now and this new device has the distinction of being a watch-mounted smartphone, not just a standard old-fashioned cell phone.

Although the Gear Solo and other smartwatch cell phones may not sell as much as conventional smartphones, it is safe to say that they'll occupy a sizable portion of a niche market that will continue to grow as the wearable technology industry inevitably expands during the next 5 years.

Tech pundits have been heralding the fast-approaching advent of wearable tech that is expected to kick off in 2015 with a heated race between major mobile hardware companies like Apple, Google, and of course Samsung. At the moment it appears Samsung is winning the race, but that could all change when Google commercially releases Glass headsets later this year.

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