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All four major US carriers will reportedly sell the Samsung Gear S2
Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch, previously referred to as Project Orbis or the Gear A, has finally been formally announced. Two main models will be released, the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 Classic to allow consumers more choice in what they wear. There will also be cellular models that can make use of 3G network services, and according to a report by SamMobile, all four major U.S. carriers will sell them.
While AT&T and Sprint have yet to actually post their plans, both Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have already taken to Twitter to tell the world what is in store for their stores:
Note that Verizon in particular, mentions selling a “Bluetooth” model – which probably refers to the Wi-Fi only variant – thus indicating even greater choice will be provided to shoppers of Big Red.
The data dilemma
Details are still murky at this stage: will any of the four carriers sell the Gear S2 Classic, or only the standard model? Will Verizon be the only one to offer a non-3G enabled model?
The data connectivity issue is, in and of itself, a dilemma as it will inevitably require a separate contract. With the Gear S last year, Samsung included not just mobile data service, but also support for voice calls, making a perfect new contract pitch for carriers to market.
Reports that the Gear S2 will include an eSIM arguably make the situation all the more complicated, as save for the Verizon Gear S last year (which featured an embedded SIM) this will prevent customers from buying the device and using it on other carriers. It will also prevent users who have an existing second line from inserting the SIM into the Gear S2.
There is also the simple matter that Samsung has once again chosen to use 3G network infrastructure whereas rival LG has offered an LTE variant of its Watch Urbane in Korea for some time now.
Pricing and availability
Nothing is yet known as to when the devices will be available for purchase other than a vague “fall” target, or how much they will retail for. Given the technology involved, and based on past pricing, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to assume the Gear S2 (or Gear S2 Classic) will land somewhere in the ballpark of $300-400.
We expect more information to be provided when IFA begins later this week. Until then, please feel free to leave us your thoughts on the device and its potential: could this be the first smartwatch you purchase or has Samsung limited its appeal by once again opting for Tizen instead of Android Wear? Do these products actually have the potential to reverse the weardown of consumer interest in wearables?