The positive reaction to the styling of Motorola’s Moto 360 Smart Watch has apparently caught the attention of other manufacturers. Prior to the Moto, every smart watch has been rectangular, just like smart phones. Building a rectangular watch is logical: It’s the shape people are used to for digital screens, it’s the most efficient (read lowest cost) way to manufacture displays, and it maximizes the display area for the already small watch-sized device. It’s the perfect shape, except for one thing; It looks like a digital device, and not a watch.
Enter Motorola, and the functionally illogical Moto 360. It has less usable screen area than other smart watches, and an empty black space at the bottom, which is apparently functionally necessary. But the style has caught the attention of the geeks among us, and pre-sale buzz indicates Motorola has a winner on its hands. (Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how well the watch works, but as an Android Wear device it probably won’t be too different from the Samsung Gear Live or the LG G Watch.
The pre-sales success of the Moto 360 must have executives in Korea worried, as both LG and Samsung are hinting at round watches to be announced at, or close to, the European consumer electronics show (IFA) in early September. Asus, HTC and Fossil are also expected to announce smart watches at IFA, but it’s not known what shape they might be.
If the rumors are true, Samsung will be unveiling something different in the smart watch market. Reportedly, Samsung’s device will include a SIM card slot, which would allow the phone to function without a connection to a smartphone. Current devices aren’t much more than big, thick, bulky and expensive watches when not tethered to an Android phone. Exactly what functionality a watch with a SIM card will offer isn’t yet known, but it could easily display text messages and email subject lines, and conceivably receive and make phone calls. How this will affect cost and bulk remains to be seen as well. We’re also curious how the carriers will market the watch. Will you have to pay for a separate data plan for a new SIM card, or will you be expected to move your SIM back and forth between devices? If it gets its own SIM, how will the data plan be priced? It seems doubtful people would pay the same price as they pay for a smartphone data plan.
A version of the round watch without a SIM slot is also expected. If the rumors are correct, the SIM slot equipped version, at least, will do without a camera. While Samsung is expected to announce the watch at it’s “Unpacked” event next month, we don’t think the watch will be available for at least several months. This announcement seems aimed at slowing the momentum Motorola has built.
Samsung has submitted the following drawings with its patent application to the US Patent and Trademark Office.
What do you think about a SIM equipped watch? Does the ability to leave your phone behind appeal to you? Or will you carry your phone with you pretty much everywhere anyway? Will you be more interested in a round watch from Samsung than the current Gear line?
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January 16 2019