Smartwatches dominated the Wearable Technology Show, and Samsung brought their latest Gear S to the party. So with the element of doubt surrounding this new category of products, we went hands (...well wrists) on.
Breaking down the tech specs, a basic sum up of the Gear S is it's a small android phone on your wrist, literally. Instead of Android Wear, Samsung has opted for Tizen: it's own linux-based OS. The 480x360 resolution display comes with 512MB of ram and 4GB of storage. On top of this, the seven sensors (Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, UV and Barometer) and built-in wifi, plus micro-SIM slot for 3G makes for a fully-fledged all-in-one.
This is Samsung's approach with the Gear S, to try and present the smartwatch as an alternative to the smartphone in some situations: leaving it at home during a night-out and using only the watch. But does this work?
What has been clear from everyone I spoke to during the show, it's that the amount and quality of content dictates the purchase of a gadget. But this is also a case of the form factor dictating the purchase. I applaud their ambition and ideology, plus the Gear S is well built with a decent 2-day battery life. But with the likes of a full qwerty keyboard on a 2" screen and multi-directional swipes to engage, the actual experience of using the watch is a pretty inconsistent one.
Put simply, technology companies have thought about the smartwatch in two ways: a companion to your smartphone or a standalone entity. It's already been proved that the companion isn't the correct way to pull this off. And what Samsung has proved with the Gear S is that a standalone smartphone on your wrist isn't the right way either.
More thought and exploration is needed before I'm sold on the idea of a smartwatch.