Consumer electronics titan Samsung is already a major player in the wearable technology space with the Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear Neo, and the company expanded its portfolio with the release of the Galaxy Gear S smartwatch and the Gear Circle earbuds.
The Gear Circle can be paired with a smartphone, so users can receive calls, listen to music and make voice commands through a Bluetooth connection.
It features a magnetic lock which clasps around the user’s neck when not in use, as well as a vibrate function to signal incoming calls and notifications.
Through 3G connectivity, as well as Bluetooth and WiFi capability, the Samsung Gear S delivers an up-to-date smart wearable experience and sports a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display and flexible band.
The screen allows users to read messages and notifications with features such as conversation view and condensed font, though the device’s most notable feature lets users make and receive calls directly from their wrist, or get calls forwarded from their smartphones.
Other features include the ability to reply to incoming messages using the onscreen keyboard, or utilize enhanced S voice functionality for other tasks.
Like the Gear Circle, the Gear S can also be paired with a smartphone, giving users the ability to receive notifications from social networks, calendars and applications when away from their phone.
Additionally, the Gear S offers turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation provided by Nokia HERE, a 24-hour news and views service from The Financial Times called fastFT, which works together with advanced-reading technology from Spritz, and the ability to see and respond to social notifications on Facebook.
There are also a slew of health and fitness features on the Gear S, including multi-sensors, built-in GPS, and S Health, which helps manage four basic areas of life, including heart rate, food, exercise and sleep. In addition, applications such as Nike+ Running allow users to track their runs.
While there has been no U.S.-specific release as of yet, the company said the Gear S and the Gear Circle would be available in global markets in phases through Samsung’s retail channels, e-commerce Websites and through carriers beginning in October.
The company’s Galaxy Gear 2 watches, released earlier this year, offer two to three days' worth of battery life, versus the single day on Gear. The Gear 2 also incorporates its camera into the watch face.
Both watches feature fitness applications, including a heart-rate monitor, a pedometer and a (downloadable) sleep and stress monitor. Bluetooth and Bluetooth Calling are included, and so are the abilities to accept or reject incoming calls and messages.
More than half (52 percent) of consumers say they’ve heard of wearable technology devices such as smart glasses, smart watches and wearable fitness tracking devices, according to research firm NPD Group’s Wearable Technology Study, released in January.
Smart watches have a slightly higher rate of awareness among early adopters than other categories. More than one-third (36 percent) of those polled said they are aware of the devices, which include the Galaxy Gear and the Pebble.