Samsung unveils S3 Gear Classic and Frontier

Samsung S3At the IFA technology trade-show in Berlin this week, Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled its new range of smartwatches, the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier which include water resistance, mobile payments (Samsung Pay), LTE connectivity and built-in GPS. The Frontier version also allow users to make phone calls or even book an Uber ride from the device without the need for a smartphone to be connected. The Gear S3 is available in two designs: frontier for a “rugged, outdoor” look, and classic which has a “minimalist, elegant style”.

“We want people to be able to leave their phone at home and use only the Gear,” Tony Kim, from Samsung’s global product planning team, said ahead of the product’s announcement. The feature in Samsung’s model allows the watch to have its own phone number for making phone calls, sending SMS messages or using apps from Spotify Ltd or Uber Technologies Inc. However, only U.S. and Korean versions of the Gear will support this feature, with other regions needing Wi-Fi or to be connected via Bluetooth to a compatible phone.

Without actually mentioning the Apple Watch, Younghee Lee, executive VP of global marketing, mobile communications business, Samsung, said the round dial presented a “circle of endless possibilities, not a square that puts you in a box”.

As with Samsung’s earlier smartwatches, Gear S3 is powered by Samsung’s own Tizen platform (rather than Google’s Android Wear, for example). Adding to the Tizen ecosystem, Samsung introduced the integration of BMW’s personal mobility companion with the new Gear S3. With the BMW Connected app, users can check their fuel level and unlock their cars, amongst other features, directly from the device. And for the first time ever on a smartwatch, the Samsung Knox Tizen Wearable SDK will be available to third-parties, enabling management capabilities and the development of customised applications for Samsung’s wearable ecosystem. Samsung added that it will continue to roll out software updates and support to provide Gear S2 users with access to select Gear S3 features.

Samsung did not disclose the prices of the new smartwatches, which are expected to go on sale in South Korea and the United States in the third-quarter of this year.

Apple is expected to introduce its new Apple Watch 2 on 7 September, along with new phones and computers.

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Categories: Wearable Computing

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