Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is striving to take the lead in the global wearables market and is likely to roll out its next-generation smartwatch, presumably the Samsung Gear 3, in the latter half of this year, according to industry sources.
“Samsung is working on the next generation of the Samsung Gear 2, and it will be sold in a bundle package with the upcoming Galaxy Note 4,” one of the sources said.
Samsung’s smartwatches, the Galaxy Gear and Samsung Gear 2, have been on the market since last year, and it has also introduced the smartband Gear Fit.
The tech giant bundled those wearables with its flagship smartphones including the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 3.
As the Note 4 is expected to be unveiled during the IFA 2014 electronics trade show in September, the Gear 3 will likely hit the shelves worldwide around the same time.
The Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear were unveiled during the IFA 2013 electronics trade show in September 2013.
The source did not offer further details about the new flagship smartwatch, but said an SIM-installed variant of the Galaxy Gear 2, known as Gear Solo, will fill the void between the releases.
Nam Dae-jong, an analyst from Hana Daetoo Securities said that “Samsung is trying to shorten the release cycle since other rivals, including Apple and LG Electronics, are expected to roll out their own smartwatches.”
The analyst did not expect the next Samsung Gear to be equipped with a curved display like Samsung’s Gear Fit smartband.
Samsung Electronics’ mobile unit chief Shin Jong-kyun said at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in February that “the year 2014 will be the one when the wearables market will take off in earnest.”
As reported by The Korea Herald in March, Samsung is planning to release the SIM-embedded smartwatch, but the firm does not seem to have plans to mass-produce the product.
“Instead of rolling out the standalone smartwatch on a large scale, the firm will test-market the product by releasing a limited batch of the Galaxy Gear model equipped with the SIM card in July,” an industry source said.
Samsung made the decision due to lukewarm responses from Korean mobile carriers, according to the source.
He said SK Telecom and KT, two of the largest mobile carriers in Korea, had showed little interest in the SIM-enabled smartwatch, which can be used to make calls without syncing it with a smartphone.
The autonomous smartwatch is also expected to hit the U.S. market in July.
Samsung sold 500,000 smartwatches in the first three months of this year, accounting for 71.4 percent of the world’s smartwatch market, according to international research institute Strategic Analytics.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)