New York – Carriers and retailers next week will roll out Samsung’s Gear S smart watch, which will be sold with wireless service plans because of its built-in 3G cellular calling and data capabilities.
The Gear S connects to a compatible Samsung smartphone via Bluetooth to make and receive calls, receive texts, and view social-media updates from the user’s wrist. If the phone is out of Bluetooth range, however, cellular calls, text and data can be sent and received directly from the smart watch, which has its own phone number and built-in speaker and microphone. In addition, calls and texts made to a compatible Samsung phone can be forwarded to the watch via cellular, Sprint said.
Users who initiate texts and calls from the watch can make the calls and texts appear to be coming from the watch’s phone number or from the number of the user’s compatible smartphone, depending on user preference, Sprint said. Data can also be received via Wi-Fi.
T-Mobile will make the device available Nov. 9 at $349.92, or $0 down with monthly payments of $14.58 for 24 months. A special rate plan for the Gear S is priced at $5/month for unlimited talk and text, up to 500MB of high-speed data, and unlimited data after that at 2G speeds. The plan also offers unlimited music streaming through supported applications apps such as Samsung’s Milk Music and unlimited data and text in more than 120 countries and destinations worldwide.
For its part, AT&T plans Nov. 7 availability in its direct channels at $199.99 with two-year agreement. The Gear S can be added to a Mobile Share plan for $10/month.
At Sprint, the device is priced in its direct channels at $384, or $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $16. It can be added to a Sprint Family Share Pack for $10/ month, delivering unlimited talk and text and a select amount of shared data based on the plan’s price.
Through Dec. 2015, Sprint will waive the $10/month access charge if the Gear S is added as a new line of service to any Sprint Family Share Pack 20GB or higher.
Samsung also said Verizon would offer the device, which will also appear in Samsung Experience Shops in Best Buy.
Gear S features a curved 2-inch 360×480 Super AMOLED display, uses the company’s Tizen OS, doubles as a music player and fitness tracker with GPS, and comes with turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation provided by Nokia HERE.
For health and fitness enthusiasts, the Gear S features built-in GPS, multiple sensors, Samsung’s S Health applications, and such applications as Nike+ Running, making fitness tracking possible without a connected smartphone.
The device works with the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S 4 mini, Galaxy S 5, Galaxy S 5 Sport, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 4 smartphones.