Samsung has made a second Gear S smartwatch available in Japan, this time without the built-in cellular connection. The modification negates the need for a cellular plan, and could help the super-sized smartwatch appeal to a wider audience.
One of the things that separated the Gear S from its growing number of rivals when it first made its debut in late August was its 3G cellular connectivity, which allows users to pop in a SIM card and use apps and other functions without having to be tethered to their smartphone.
The thing is, a lot of people think 3G connectivity is just unnecessary in a smartwatch, and the fact that you currently have to buy it with a cellular plan in the U.S. — and spend yet more money on data — puts a lot of prospective consumers off.
Samsung has clearly recognized that, and now it’s back with a second Gear S variant. Exclusively available in Japan for now, it’s exactly the same as the original in almost every way, only the cellular connection (and GPS, too, it seems) has been dropped along with the SIM card slot.
The new device keeps its Wi-Fi connection, though — so you can still use certain services without your smartphone if you connect to a hotspot — and it has the same 2-inch, curved Super AMOLED display, 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of memory.
Samsung will be hoping that this new variant will help the Gear S appeal to future smartwatch owners who want a larger wearable, but don’t need built-in cellular connectivity and the extra costs that come with that. A release date for the U.S., Europe, and other markets, however, is yet to be confirmed.