Samsung Gear S watch sports 3G, LG G Watch R gets curvy

Makers focus on connectivity and design appeal

By Yewon Kang and Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service |  Personal Tech

Samsung and LG have announced more smartwatches ahead of next week's IFA trade show in Berlin, with an emphasis on connectivity and curvy faces.

Samsung Electronics announced the Gear S, its first smartwatch with 3G connectivity. Users can make or receive calls using the timepiece or get them forwarded from a smartphone, according to Samsung. That makes the Gear S one of the few smartwatches on the market that can act as a stand-alone device.

"The Samsung Gear S offers a new wearable experience with 3G connectivity and elegant curved display, expanding the smartphone experience to the wrist," a Samsung spokesman wrote in an email.

Powered by the Tizen operating system, it has a 2-inch, curved Super AMOLED display with a 360 by 480 resolution.

The Gear S has 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory and a 300 mAh lithium-ion battery that lasts two days with typical use, the company said. Its sensors include a heart-rate monitor and UV monitors. It has also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The watch will be available in phases starting from October, Samsung said, with pricing announced then.

The LG G Watch R, meanwhile, has a circular face, much like a traditional wristwatch and in contrast to most smartwatches released to date.

It seems designed to take on another round smartwatch, the Android Wear Moto 360 from Motorola.

"The G Watch R is lighter and more durable than other competing devices due to its unique Plastic OLED display," an LG Electronics spokesman wrote in an email. "It also has the best looking watch face (its a complete circle, unlike another recently announced round smartwatch which has a black bar running across the bottom) and the largest battery among available Android Wear devices."

Set in a stainless steel frame, the 1.3-inch display has a 320 by 320 resolution that can boost display clarity when viewed at different angles and under bright sunlight.

The company's earlier G Watch was criticized for its bland design and large, bulky display of 1.5 inches by 1.8 inches, and it had an LCD screen with 280 by 280 resolution.

The G Watch R, which has health and fitness tracking functions and an embedded heartbeat sensor, resembles its predecessor in terms of specs. It runs on Android Wear and is powered by a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, with 4 GB of storage, 512 MB of memory and a 410 mAh battery.

The dust- and water-resistant unit connects to Android smartphones via Bluetooth.

LG said it will roll out the device in the fourth quarter of 2014, but it did not give a specific date, region or price.

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