In April the Korea Herald claimed that Samsung was gearing up to release a stand-alone version of its Gear smartwatch called the Gear Solo, complete with a SIM card allowing it to make its own calls, send texts and even browse the web using data. Now a new report from the Wall Street Journal seems to corroborate some of the details from the earlier rumor.
The original report said the Gear Solo may or may not be the final name of the device and that it would launch first in South Korea with SK Telecom as a partner. Now WSJ chimes in with even more details about the watch, claiming that outside of SK Telecom, the Korean giant has also began talks with major carriers in the U.S. And Europe. As for the feature set? The watch will offer GPS, Bluetooth, a camera, a heart monitor, and will essentially do everything a typical smartphone can. Like recent members of the Gear family, the watch-phone will run on Tizen as opposed to Android.
The Wall Street Journal’ss sources indicate the device will ship with SIM card support within the next few months, perhaps as soon as June or July. No word on pricing, but we wouldn’t be too surprised if it ends up costing somewhere in between the Gear 2 and a typical Samsung smartphone. Paying $400+ (a likely price point) for a watch might sound crazy, but for those looking for Dick Tracy-like functionality on their wrist, this could be a device that not only replaces the need for a watch (if you still wear one) but it could even render your phone obsolete.
Being totally honest, we can’t see this one taking off, especially considering Samsung’s early troubles with the smartwatch market up until this point. Of course, Samsung isn’t afraid to try new form-factors and sometimes these ideas work out even when no one excepted them to (See: Note family and the S-Pen). What do you think, like the idea of a stand-alone smartwatch experience or do you feel that such a device is unnecessary?