The wearables war has finally gotten started, thanks to Google’s announcement yesterday of Android Wear, and the accompanying announcements of Motorola’s Moto 360 and the LG G Watch. Not to be outdone, it seems as though Samsung is looking to free the smartwatch from its reliance on the smartphone entirely. A post on TechCrunch today reports that the Galaxy Gear maker is looking into releasing a Gear 2 smartwatch equipped with its own SIM card, potentially giving users the ability to make calls and send texts right from their wrists without any accompanying phone.
The news comes by way of a report in the Korea Herald, which reports that Samsung is talking with Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom about bringing a SIM-enabled Gear 2 to market. According to the article, an unnamed source within SK Telecom says that such a model of Gear 2 would “only be available in Korea for a while, but did not rule out the possibility of a release in other global markets.” The article also points out that a Gear 2 with its own SIM card would likely suffer a much higher rate of battery consumption than a non-SIM model, so that’s a potential challenge that Samsung may need to reckon with before making this move happen.
Another important factor is that the Galaxy Gear 2 is built on Tizen, Samsung’s proprietary operating system. While reports say that the Tizen OS can run Android apps, the process isn’t as simple as just downloading and installing an .apk file. More importantly is this question: would users want a SIM-powered Tizen smartwatch as their main mobile device?
That’s really the big question for whether or not a gadget like this would really ever take off. By now the world has not only embraced the idea of smartphones, but now basically relies on them. It seems like a stretch to ask people to ditch their phones in favor of wrist-mounted communicators. Because, really, there’s no reason for a SIM-enabled smartwatch if you’ve already got a smartphone…right? Unless you want to have two mobile accounts, with one being strapped to your arm.
Is a SIM-powered smartwatch the next evolution of wearables? Or an experiment that doesn’t need to happen?