Fans of really gigantic “phablets” are salivating for Samsung’s Sept. 3 press event, at which it is expected to launch the Galaxy Note 4, the latest iteration of its 5.7-inch screen phone.
But a source hinted to Business Insider recently that the company may also unveil something interesting in terms of wearables at the Berlin-based event. Perhaps a new smartwatch, which would be Samsung’s sixth? “It’s going to busy in Berlin,” our source teased.
We’ve heard rumours of a new smartwatch coming before. One potential product in the pipeline is the Gear Solo, which can make phone calls. That watch was rumoured to be launched this summer but it never arrived. Samsung’s other in-development wearable product is the Gear VR virtual reality headset, which works when you slot in a Galaxy phone.
It would be really, really cool if the Note 4 came with a Gear VR headset accessory, of course.
So now we’ve heard that as many as three products could launch on Sept 3: a new Note, a new Gear, and a new VR headset.
But who knows.
This new source is, shall we say, in a position to hear what’s coming down the pike inside Samsung but not in a position to definitively confirm things. (Nonetheless, speculation and rumours are half the fun with these things!)
Samsung has good reason to launch another watch. The first five (deep breath: Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, and the Gear Live) have not exactly set the world on fire. It’s not quite clear whether Samsung expects these things to take off as massive consumer businesses, or whether it’s just market-testing in hopes of dominating a new category years from now.
Samsung would also like it if its new mobile operating system, Tizen, could find a strong new home. Until now, Samsung has been a Google/Android company and its phones have been based on the Android operating system. But the Gear and Gear 2 were built or updated onto Samsung’s proprietary Tizen platform, putting Samsung’s wearables in direct competition with Google’s new wearable operating system, Android Wear.
However, Samsung did build a new Android watch, the Gear Live, which runs Google’s new Android Wear operating system for smartwatches.
Samsung’s problem is that it’s dependent on Google to supply the free operating system for its flagship phones. At the same time, Google is supplying Android to all Samsung’s competitors, too, and they often make phones that are cheaper than Samsung’s.
Tizen would fix that problem if, by some miracle, Samsung could get widespread adoption of it in a new line of products. It’s not completely unreasonable to imagine Tizen becoming Samsung’s operating system for non-phone devices — this is a company that also has massive divisions making all sorts of household gadgets like TVs, washing machines and dishwashers. Those gadgets are becoming smarter by the month — creating the early stages of “the internet of things” — and no doubt Samsung will ultimately want them on a common ecosystem that it controls.
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