Samsung’s Gear A takes on Apple’s smartwatch

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Samsung’s Gear A takes on Apple’s smartwatch

Samsung Electronics is poised to unveil the latest Gear smartwatch, the “Gear A,” as archrival Apple prepares to start sales of the much anticipated Apple Watch on April 24, according to SamMobile, an Internet community for Samsung fans, on Tuesday.

The Gear A smartwatch will succeed the Gear S and will be round in shape, unlike its rectangular predecessors. It could be “the most premium smartwatch from Samsung yet,” SamMobile reports.

Samsung had planned to show the Gear A, code-named Orbis at the time, at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona last month but postponed it to prevent it from stealing any thunder from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones, according to sources.

The Gear A will come in two variants: a standard model with Bluetooth connectivity to a companion smartphone and a model with a 3-G mobile connection and the ability to make phone calls. Its predecessor also had either Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. The 3-G connected model is pricier.

The Gear A will operate on Samsung’s own Exynos 7420 processor and a single battery charge will be good for up to five days of use, SamMobile previously reported.

Like previous models, the Gear A will run on Samsung’s own operating system, Tizen, instead of Android system. Samsung is trying to reduce its reliance on Google’s platform and boost its own ecosystem of technology and linked products.

All three mobile carriers in Korea are getting ready to release the new Gear.

Since it first started selling the Gear smartwatch in September 2013, Samsung rolled out the Gear 2 in March 2014 and followed up with Gear 2 Neo, the bracelet-type Gear Fit, Gear Live and Gear S.

“With the Apple Watch nearing release, it’s imperative for Samsung to make sure its next smartwatch can offer a good argument for why people should opt for it over Apple’s first smartwatch,” the report says.

As the smartwatch market heats up, LG Electronics has also jumped on the bandwagon with the LG Watch Urbane LTE, the first model to support super-fast long-term evolution (LTE) or 4-G connections. With a hefty price tag of 650,000 won ($595.8), it went on sale in Korea on March 27.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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