Samsung Electronics (KRX:00530) unveiled a strange new wearable on Wednesday following a report that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is prepared to lift the curtain on the iWatch.
In addition to a new, curved smartwatch that can make phone calls by adding a smartphone’s SIM card, Samsung unveiled a wireless headset called the Gear Circle. The wearable includes earbuds and a microphone for music and phone calls, but it also includes a magnetic clasp so it can be worn like a necklace when not in use.
There are plenty of headphones that connect to a smartphone wirelessly through Bluetooth and can make phone calls, like Beats Electronics' Powerbeats 2, but few give vibrating notifications, as the Gear Circle does, for phone calls, text messages and the like. Samsung says the Gear Circle is set for a global release at an undisclosed date in October.
For a smartwatch to be truly useful, it needs to make phone calls and other smartphone tasks easy to do without reaching into your pocket or bag. But several smartwatches, like Samsung’s Android Wear-powered Gear Fit, do not incorporate a speaker for phone calls. If they did, smartwatch calls would require that every one be through speakerphone, whereas Bluetooth headsets allow smartwatch users to jump into an incoming call with a single swipe on their wrists.
While vibrating notifications may be redundant for smartwatch owners or those with a buzzing smartphone in their pocket, Samsung’s Gear Circle is another small step toward an Internet of (wearable) Things that means more than just smartwatches.