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Summary:

Would you rather take phone calls on a watch instead of a phone? Samsung thinks so based on reports that it will launch a standalone smartwatch this summer that will accept a SIM card and have its own phone number.

Galaxy Gear ad
photo: Samsung

Step aside, Dick Tracy: Samsung is planning to bring a wrist-communicator to the masses later this year. The company is working on a smartwatch similar to the ones it currently offers but this one will work as a phone for voice calls on its own. Samsung’s existing smartwatches can be used for voice calls as Bluetooth handsets and require a connected smartphone for the actual call.

The plans came to light in a Wall Street Journal report on Friday, courtesy of unnamed people familiar with the product. The Journal’s sources suggest the new smartwatch is planned for a launch in either June or July and will run on Samsung’s Tizen software. Samsung’s first smartwatch debuted last year running Google Android but newer similar products run on Tizen. Samsung is also reportedly planning to switch software in the original Galaxy Gear smartwatch from Android to Tizen through software update.

Galaxy Gear camera

In order for Samsung’s new smartwatch to act as a cellular phone, it will require a carrier SIM card for service. That implies the watch will require a paid voice plan, if not also a data plan, for consumers. And that’s going to be a tough sell. Using a watch for voice calls — even on Samsung’s existing smartwatch products over Bluetooth — doesn’t yet offer a great experience. Paying for that poor experience when a perfectly good one is available on a smartphone will hamper any chance of a standalone smartwatch unless Samsung pulls a rabbit out of the hat. Perhaps it needs to enlist Dick Tracy to do some sleuthing and see if consumers even want to take phone calls from their wrist.

  1. inspector gadget level, pretty cool

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  2. can’t imagine how awkward it would be

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  3. Yeah sure we all want to go back to dumbphones ( that’s what a small screen device is).
    If 3G data was free, like on the Kindle 3G, and it was only for data then it could work.
    Then again maybe if they sell it as a wifi hotspot watch that provides a connection when you got none to other devices.

    There are so many things a watch could do but everybody just lacks any imagination both on the hardware and software.
    Hell, satellite emergency beacon would be more useful and a better selling point that 3G. Guess that feature would be a nice additions to phones too, more useful than many existing features.

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  4. I can’t see both wearing a smartwatch and carrying a smartphone. The problem with a smartwatch is lack of screen real estate; heck, I’m already squinting at my iPhone and wondering if Apple will ever get a larger phone screen or if I’ll have to switch back to Android.

    A smartwatch with a little bitty 2-inch screen would be useless to me.

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