Samsung steps up smartwatch race with unveiling of Gear S3 smartwatches
Samsung Electronics unveiled two new smartwatches on Wednesday which boast a range of digital features that seek to outshine the Apple Watch, including connecting to the internet without the need of a smartphone.
The world's biggest maker of consumer electronic products introduced its new line of Gear S3 watches ahead of this week's opening in Berlin of the IFA, Europe's biggest annual trade fair for consumer electronics and domestic appliances.
The new Gear S3 Frontier model has a rugged outdoor look, while the Gear S3 Classic has a more refined appearance, but both watches feature large faces that are likely to appeal mainly to male consumers.
The Frontier model has its own cellular radio chip to connect to high speed 4G mobile networks so it does not need to be "tethered" to the wearer's smartphone in order to make calls or send and receive data, unlike Apple watches, which require an iPhone to remain nearby for their connections.
Apple, the current market leader in smartwatches, is expected to introduce its new Apple Watch 2 line-up a week from now, on September 7, along with new phones and computers.
Gadget news sites have reported that Apple is considering introducing smartwatches with their own cellular radio in 2017, but won't offer such a feature in its upcoming models fearing it would further drain their batteries, which typically last around 24 hours in current models before needing to be recharged.
The latest Samsung smartwatches offer always-on color displays, dust and water resistance features, a built-in speaker and GPS location-finding technology. They also enable users to make mobile payments in countries where Samsung Pay is available.
Pricing was not disclosed for the new Gear S3 watches, which are due to go on sale before the end of the year.
Samsung's existing line of Gear S2 watches retail at major online sites for around $250 to $300, comparable to pricing for the most basic sports version of the Apple Watch.
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