At IFA, spotlight will shine on smartwatches with better looks and connectivity

Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service , IDG News Service

Smartwatches will be in the spotlight at the IFA trade show in Berlin, with LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony all keen to demonstrate their new products are what consumers want.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics announced their upcoming smartwatches, the Gear S and G Watch R, last week in advance of the show.

Samsung’s Gear S is a 3G smartwatch that doesn’t need a smartphone to function. It’s powered by an unspecified dual-core 1GHz processor and has a curved 2-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 480 by 360 pixel resolution.

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Nike gets into smartwatch software with Samsung Gear S app

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Nike is moving from fitness bands to smartwatches with an app for Samsung’s upcoming Gear S.

The Nike+ Running app will come pre-loaded on the Gear S, and will put the watch’s built-in GPS and cellular connections to good use. While out on a run, users can record their route and check their speed even if they’ve left their phones at home. The app also has a built-in music player and Facebook connectivity for “real-time cheers” from friends.

Samsung’s Gear S is hardly the only wearable with GPS built-in, but that feature is notably absent from other smartwatches, and from some popular fitness bands such as Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex. Without GPS, fitness bands essentially become step counters, unable to determine speed, pacing or route on their own.

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Look but don't touch: Apple wearable won't ship until 2015, report says

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Apple will reportedly announce its first wearable device in September, but the product may not ship until early next year.

That's according to Re/code's John Paczkowski, who reported earlier this week that Apple will announce the wearable on September 9. Apple later confirmed the date of the press event, but obviously hasn't said what it plans to reveal.

“It’s not shipping anytime soon,” one of Paczkowski's sources said of the wearable in a new report. While the exact release timing still isn't clear, Apple may hold off on a launch until after the holiday season.

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Samsung's Gear S gives the people what (they think) they want

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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On the face of it, Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch seems kind of ridiculous.

Its tall, curved display and front-mounted home button give it the appearance of a warped, miniaturized smartphone. And that’s basically what it is, with a built-in cellular radio for phone-free voice calls and Internet use. Conventional wisdom in the tech world holds that this is not what people want in a wearable.

And yet, whenever I talk to people who spot a smartwatch on my wrist, they claim to want exactly what Samsung is selling. The two first things they ask me, without fail, is whether my watch can make calls, and whether it can get online without a phone connection. The watch I’m wearing currently, Samsung’s Gear Live , does neither of these things, and I can see the disappointment creep onto people’s faces when I give them the news.

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Why round smartwatches mean more work for developers

Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service , IDG News Service

The arrival of the first round Android Wear-based smartwatches means developers have to take extra care to ensure their apps look good.

One of the issues developers have faced when creating apps for Google’s OS is the fragmentation caused by different software versions, screen sizes and resolutions. The same problem has started to appear on smartwatches, albeit for now on a much smaller scale, as vendors launch square and round models of these devices.

On Thursday, LG Electronics launched the G Watch R (pictured at top), which has a round face, unlike its square-faced G Watch and Samsung’s Gear Live. The G Watch R will be on display at next week’s IFA trade show. Next week, Motorola Mobility is expected to launch the Moto 360, which will also have a round face.

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Samsung outs the Gear S, a curved Tizen smartwatch that doesn't need your phone

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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The tech world is just full of surprises ahead of the IFA Berlin tradeshow, which starts next week. The very same evening that LG announced its round-faced G Watch R, Samsung outed a new 3G-capable smartwatch even Dick Tracy could love—and a Bluetooth headphone-necklace thing.

Gear S smartwatch

Samsung's new Tizen-based Gear S smartwatch features 3G and 2G connectivity so that users can "make and receive calls directly from their wrist, or get calls forwarded from their smartphones," according to the company. 

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Report: Apple wearable on track for September debut

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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The big reveal for Apple’s first wearable device may be just a couple weeks away, according to one reporter with a strong track record for Apple product timing.

Quoting no one in particular—not even unnamed sources—John Paczkowski at Re/code reports that Apple will announce the wearable on September 9, reportedly the same day that it’ll announce two new iPhones. Paczkowski previously claimed that Apple would reveal the device in October, but had warned that the company’s plans could change. In this case, it appears Apple has moved the reveal date forward. 

Paczkowski has previously been accurate on the timing of Apple’s iPad announcements in 2012 and 2013.

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