When Google announced Android Wear earlier this year, it seemed like a confirmation that the smartwatch category would start to seriously heat up – and it has. Just last night, Samsung announced its sixth smartwatch in under a year: the Gear S, a watch with a curved, super AMOLED display outfitted with a SIM card, allowing it to make calls and access data networks over 3G. Though this device has reportedly been in the works for a while, what’s incredible is that the smartwatch field is just now about to crack open with a flood of other devices.
So, here’s a preliminary guide to some of this fall’s forthcoming smartwatches – both confirmed and unconfirmed. The tech industry seems to believe this category will be the next big thing, so you best be prepared.
Samsung Gear S
Release: October 2014
What we know: Announced last night, the Gear S is just the latest in a long series of smartwatches from Samsung, which released the first device in the line less than a year ago with the initial Galaxy Gear device. The Gear S can access 3G networks to allow for Internet connectivity, along with text messages and phone calls independent of a smartphone, though it can also connect with a smartphone. It’ll also have built in GPS, light and weather sensors, and an optical heart rate monitor. It’ll run Samsung’s Tizen operating system, the fifth Samsung smartawatch to do so out of the six that have been released.
What we don’t know: We’re still unclear on the Gear S’s price, exact release date, or the deal with its data access. Will it have a year or two of data service at one particular carrier built in? Previous Gear smartwatches – with the exception of the Android Wear Gear Live – have only been able to connect with other Galaxy smartphones from Samsung. Will that be the case with this watch?
Motorola Moto 360
Release: Summer/Fall 2014
What we know: One of the first smartwatches we saw along with Google’s Android Wear announcement, the Moto 360 managed to turn more than a few heads with its striking design, being the first glimpse we’ve seen at a smarwatch with a round face. Even though it seemed to debut along with the LG G Watch in those promo videos, the G Watch was released back in July, while the Moto 360 has remained under wraps. The device’s specs have yet to be officially announced, but leaks from an Italian blogger – as well as a product page on Best Buy’s website – both seem to confirm a few details: the Moto 360 will offer IP67 water and dust resistance, an optical hear rate monitor, wireless charging, and a 1.5-inch LCD, Gorilla Glass display. The price should hover somewhere around $250, though many speculate that Motorola may end up charging more for the model with a metal watch band.
What we don’t know: Motorola still maintains a “Summer 2014” release date, though technically it’s still summer until late September. With a press event scheduled for September 4, chances seem good that the Moto 360 could go on sale as soon as next week.
LG G Watch R (Updated)
Release Date: Fall 2014
What we know: Teased only a few days ago, LG published a whole bunch of details today. It’ll have a round face design meant to rival the Moto 360 – and it’ll use “100 percent of its watchface,” in contrast to the Moto 360’s little black bar at the bottom of its OLED display. It’ll be armed with a Snapdragon 400 CPU from Qualcomm, 4GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM, a whole bunch of sensors to measure your heart rate as well as the weather, and it’ll run Android Wear. This will be LG’s second smartwatch since entering the field with the first G Watch this past July. LG will have the G Watch R on display at the IFA event in Berlin on September 5.
What we don’t know: When I initially wrote this (about an hour before this update I’m currently editing), there was a ton we didn’t know – but now that LG’s released all the specs and details, all we’re really missing is an official release date and price. It may be priced competitively with the other smarwatches out there, so probably around the $250 level. In all, the G Watch R might end up stealing a ton of the Moto 360’s thunder.
Release: Fall 2014 (?)
What we know: Like the G Watch R, what we know about the Asus smartwatch is a whole lot of nothing. Back when Android Wear was first announced, Asus was listed as one of Google’s hardware partners, so chances seem pretty good that this smartwatch will run Android Wear. Also, we’ve got just the smallest glimpse of the device’s design, which seems to be a rectangle with rounded edges, a look that may help it stay inconspicuous among competition that’s been relatively bulky thus far. Also like LG’s next smartwatch, whatever Asus has up its sleeve will be announced on September 3, shortly before IFA kicks off in Berlin next week.
— ASUS (@ASUS) August 19, 2014
TechCrunch also reports that this will be the budget-friendly smartwatch, with a price planned for “somewhere between $99 and $149.” That could make it between fifty to a hundred dollars cheaper than the cheapest Android Wear device currently on the market.
What we don’t know: All of the details about this new device from Asus are also shrouded in mystery. One can possibly assume that the aforementioned low estimated price could mean that the Asus smartwatch will offer more modest specifications than other devices running Android Wear. Other than that, we don’t know when it’s coming out or really anything else.
Release: October 2014 (?)
What we know: Microsoft was awarded a patent for a smartband back in May, and since then details have trickled around the web about the device that’s supposedly coming out of Redmond. According to reports coming out this past summer, the device will be a fitness-focused, sensor-laden smartband with its display resting on the inside of a wearer’s wrist. Moreover, the device is said to be compatible with lots of mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and – of course – Windows Phone. No price or other specs have managed to dribble out, but it’s said that the smartband will make its debut this October.
What we don’t know: Aside from the patent and these reports, we have yet to catch any kind of glimpse of this smartband. With so many other smartwatches being announced in September with releases to follow shortly thereafter, it wouldn’t be too surprising for Microsoft to jump into the game around the same time. As for price, it’s anybody’s guess.
Release: Early 2015 (?)
What we know: It exists? Maybe? Probably. For over a year, the iWatch has hit news reports every few weeks. A report from Re/code from just yesterday said that the iWatch would be on display at Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 event on September 9. There, we’ll apparently see some HealthKit and HomeKit functionality, but the device has reportedly hit production delays, meaning we may not see it until early 2015 whether it’s on stage with Tim Cook next month or not. Even still, Apple has made more than a few hires – of luxury watch execs, of biotech specialists – who will supposedly be bringing the iWatch from dream to reality.
What we don’t know: Anything else. The iWatch has managed to be one of the most mythical pieces of hardware Apple has ever (reportedly) worked on. Rumors and details have conflicted for months, and meanwhile we still have yet to catch even the barest glimpse at this thing. I’d be surprised if we did actually see anything resembling an iWatch in September. But with the competition heating up, Apple may have no choice but to bring it before all of us soon.