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Wearable Tech

Report: New Samsung stand-alone smartwatch phone coming this summer

Samsung may have a fully stand-alone smartwatch-phone ready by the summer, joining its existing family of Gears.

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The Gear 2, which already can make calls via Bluetooth. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple and Google don't even have one smartwatch yet, and Samsung's already working on its fifth.

A report from the Wall Street Journal says that yet another Samsung smartwatch, one which would be fully uncoupled and stand-alone and act as a watch-phone with its own SIM card, is on its way as early as this summer. While details beyond that seem slim, odds are likely it'll build on the hardware and app feature set of the new Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo watches. Could it have a camera, then, and a heart rate monitor, and Tizen apps, and be water and dust-resistant? Seems like it would make sense.

Then again, what makes sense in smartwatches these days? Wrist tech is embryonic at best, with no strong platform that's yet been established for software. Samsung did its own complete app reboot from the first Android-based Galaxy Gear to its new Tizen OS, resulting in a drop-off in some bigger-name apps like TripIt.

There are a few stand-alone smartwatch-phones out there, like the Omate TrueSmart which I tried out last year. The biggest problem with watch-phones, among many, is figuring out a way to be productive on a small screen. It'll require apps and design that work, ideally, better than a smartphone, which sounds like a tall order.

Android Wear, Google's wearable OS that could have watches in a mere few weeks, should be the first big step in software. Apple could eventually be another.

Samsung's well on its way to establishing itself as the premier hardware manufacturer for smartwatches, just based on sheer numbers. Whether that brute force approach will work long-term remains to be seen.