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The Samsung Gear S was only announced earlier this week and it’s already compiling a nice library of apps. Samsung announced on Friday that a Nike+ Running app will be preloaded on the Samsung Gear S when it goes on sale this October.
The Gear S comes with a curved 2-inch screen that will be used by the Nike+ app for giving feedback while running or displaying NikeFuel stats. An audio player will also be built in, so you can set your run to music with Bluetooth headphones — perhaps Samsung’s Gear Circle wireless headphones, which were announced at the same time as the Gear S.
The main claim to fame for the Tizen-based Gear S is that it comes with a 3G connection, so it doesn’t need to be paired to a smartphone at all times, unlike Android Wear. The fact that the Gear S will come with a robust running app pre-installed is bad news for the Timex Ironman GPS One, an expensive running-focused smartwatch based on Qualcomm technology that also comes with a cellular connection but lacks Samsung’s ecosystem clout.
Because it’s a pain to carry around a big phone when you go out for a quick run, run tracking could end up being one of the best ways to use a smartwatch with 3G connectivity. It’s an example of a user experience that’s well suited for the wrist, not a phone.
Nike laid off most of the wearable hardware team responsible for the Fuelband earlier this year, saying that it instead planned to focus on Nike+ software for multiple platforms. It’s kept that promise, releasing a Nike+ app for Android earlier this summer, although there is no Android Wear support yet. Still, I would expect to see Nike+ integration featured when Apple announces its wearable wristband as early as September 9.
Samsung’s Tizen-based smartwatches were among the first to market, but they face an uphill battle competing with [company]Google[/company] and eventually [company]Apple[/company] for people’s hearts and wrists. If Samsung wanted to keep its Tizen smartwatches competitive, this is exactly the way to do it: Quality apps that Android Wear doesn’t have yet.