|By Bob Gourley||
|June 10, 2014 08:15 PM EDT||
The technology of wearables continues to progress at a rapid clip. Samsung has released a slew of these devices in the last few years; the watches enable users to surf the web and make phone calls – with the aid of a smartphone. But recent reports indicate that Samsung has a smartwatch in the works with the ability to connect without the aid of a smartphone.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung’s new watch-phone (or smartwatch) will come with its own SIM card – the only wearable with a SIM card available from a major manufacturer. It will allow phone calls and Internet access without a smartphone, and people familiar with the matter expect the device to be released later this year.
Not surprisingly, many techies have their doubts about the smartwatch market. Scott Stein, with CNET, summarizes that most users do not know how to be productive with such a small screen; the aforementioned article from the Wall Street Journal expresses similar sentiments.
With a super-portable iPhone or Galaxy phone capable of making phones, sending emails, snapping pictures, and connecting to the Internet, why would a user want a smartwatch to less efficiently do the same thing? While the difference in mobility between a tablet or laptop and a smartphone is significant, the difference between a smartwatch and smartphone may ultimately prove negligible. Of course, wearable devices have alternative applications (tracking heartbeats, footsteps, etc.), so maybe wearables should avoid trying to be smartphones by filling their own niche.
A few conclusions: wearables are still in their infancy – with consumer interest and technological capabilities still unknown, and Samsung is definitely pursuing first-mover advantages.