Samsung Gear S3 Expect the Unexpected

Samsung Gear S3: Expect the Unexpected in 2017

Samsung Gear S3 rumors are heating up as we approach the one year mark since Samsung Gear S2 was released. In the fight for dominance in the emerging Smartwatch market, Samsung has proven itself a fast learner. In a short amount of time, the Korean tech giant has released a plethora of Smartwatches, most of them being average at best. But from the clunky, non-intuitive beginnings of wearables such as the Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Samsung Gear 2 (not to be confused with Samsung Gear S2) the company has made terrific progress. Their latest attempt at it resulted in the Gear S2, easily one of the best Smartwatches in the market.

The Smartwatch industry is huge and growing at a rapid rate. In 2014, its size was estimated at $2.5 billion.  Since 2013, Samsung has always enjoyed the lion’s share of the market, with Apple surpassing it in 2015.

With its next smartwatch release, Samsung will be looking to stake its claim as market leader. The S2 was good, really good, but of course with a few issues here and there. Samsung Gear S3 aims for perfection, unachievable as it might be. Samsung will look to keep up the momentum it created with the S2 Smartwatch and lay the ground work for even better iterations in the future.

Whether you are a Samsung fan or not, what the company does with S3 is worth getting excited for; it could shape the entire smartwatch industry. Here is what we know so far.

Samsung Gear S3 price when reviewed: $299.00


Project Solis: An Overview

samsung gear s3The Samsung Gear S3, at least that’s the official name we expect, has been codenamed Solis. The name means sun in Spanish, which could indicate a circular display style similar to that of the current model. The S3 Smartwatch will be looking to solve the problematic issues in the Gear S2 while making big improvements on various other features. One of the major problems that Samsung will be looking to remedy is the severe shortage of third party apps.

Samsung Gear S2 was received warmly, with plenty of positive reviews. We therefore expect the next iteration to be even better. But remember that Samsung Gear S3 will likely be going up against Apple Watch 2, which could be released this year. In fact, reports suggest that the two devices could be released around the same time, making for an interesting battle between two capable giants.

Samsung Gear S3 will be powered by Samsung’s own Tizen Operating System and will come in a variety of unlocked and carrier-specific models. Specifically, there will be three unlocked models and a couple of carrier variants.

Samsung Gear S3 Design

As we have noted, it is highly likely that Samsung decides to retain the round-face style it gave the Gear S2. I have to admit, the circular style looks much more chic and modern than the blocky look of Apple Watch.
This design worked very well with Samsung Gear S2, which even included a rotating bezel for easier control and manipulation. It is only safe to assume that Samsung will take a similar path with the S3. Leaked images of the watch, which we cannot ascertain as genuine, confirm this design.

Unlike the Gear S2 however, the S3 will not rely as much on the rotating bezel to cycle through menu options. Reports suggest that Samsung is planning a slight increase in display size from the current one of 1.2 inches spotted by the S2. A larger display will allow easier touch manipulation of the interface.

Like the Gear S2, we expect the Gear S3 to come with a wide range of customization options from the watch faces to the watchbands. The circular interface design and layout, which worked so well for the S2, is likely to remain unchanged in S3 with perhaps just a few improvements and added options.

Here is a quick rundown of what we expect in the S3’s design.

  • Circular display and interface.
  • Slightly larger display.
  • Same rotating bezel as in Gear S2.
  • A variety of customization options for the watch face and bands.

Expected Features

samsung gear s3, samsung gear s2Samsung Gear S3 is a huge deal for the company. Having gone through a steep and expensive learning curve, everyone expects the best from them right now, especially after that splendid showing with the S2.

The Gear S3 is a chance to enter the market proper and prove to their fans that they can actually make a good smartwatch, not just a shiny device for your wrist. It will also be an opportunity to show that it can be as good, if not better than Apple. It would be a shame to let the Cupertino company best them in both Smartphones and Smartwatches.

At this point, there is not much we know about the Gear S3 smartwatch. Below are the few features being rumored around, including our best guesses for what Samsung will unveil with their next Smartwatch. Keep coming back for more updates as we know more.

1. OS

When it first came out, Tizen was really just a terrible version of Android. That is why Samsung still uses Android on its Galaxy Smartphones. But as it grows and gets better, Samsung is looking to shift more towards its in-house open source OS and away from Android.

Samsung Gear S2 came equipped with Tizen and it is highly likely that the Gear S3 will follow the same path. This will be a big disappointment to fans who hoped Samsung would shift to Android Wear with the S3, thus opening up the possibility of more apps from developers.

Samsung, on its part, seems bent on creating its own Tizen-powered ecosystem instead of keeping up the heavy reliance on Android. With time, they could even shift their Smartphones from Android to Tizen. Whether this will put it on an equal footing with Apple or alienate Android-loving customers remains to be seen.

But for now, at least, they are playing it safe by keeping Tizen only in the wearables. But do not fret, Tizen has gotten pretty good. It was great in the S2 and will be even better in the S3. Of course there is that small issue of lack of apps that Samsung has to solve.

2. More apps

As good as Tizen has become, it is of no use if developers are not creating apps for it. Right now, Tizen is suffering from brand name recognition and lack of mass usage, unlike Android and iOS. With S2, Samsung partnered with a number of companies like Nike, ESPN, LINE and Uber to fill up the watch with a few apps. But that was still not enough to create a rich enough experience for the users.

There are no reports on this but it is a good guess that Samsung will try to get a few more apps in. To do this, they have to collaborate with more companies on creating apps for Tizen. But even more importantly, they have to encourage developers to shift some of their focus say from Android and iOS and onto Tizen. To convince them, the Samsung Gear S3 has to sell well enough that developers can see that there is a large audience to cater to and possibly money to be made.

The shortage of apps is to be expected considering that Tizen is still the newbie around. With time and with increased adoption of Tizen-powered devices, more apps will become available.

3. Better performance

One of the major issues with the Gear S2 Smartwatch was the speed at which apps opened. The lag caused some frustrations especially with heavier apps such as maps. This is an area where Samsung has to work on, especially as it aims to bring more third party apps on board.

Many customers also complained about the sluggish voice control feature, another issue that the company needs to correct in its upcoming iteration.

We expect the Gear S3 to have an improved performance all-round in areas ranging from speed to intuitiveness.

4. Fitness features

Fitness has invariably been a central feature of Samsung Gear Smartwatches and we expect it to continue as so in Gear S3. The S2 came with the basic fitness features such as tracking your heartbeat, tracking your daily activity, tracking water vs. caffeine intake, motivational workout messages and more. Expect these and more in the Gear S3. It will be especially awesome if developers can bring more fitness apps to complement Samsung’s own fitness features.

While the Gear S3 is good for basic fitness tracking, we would not recommend it for the avid fitness enthusiast. For some serious training and tracking, look for fitness-dedicated wearables such as those from Garmin and FitBit. But if you are just looking to keep track of your daily step count or measure your heartbeat, Gear S3 is good enough.

5. Smartphone compatibility

There was a time when Samsung’s wearables could only be used with their Galaxy phones. With Gear S2, Samsung opened up its smartwatch to other Smartphones running Android 4.4 and above and with RAM of at least 1.5GB. This will remain the case with Gear S3.

Can we hope for any compatibility with the iPhone?

That’s a big no. Remember that Google does not produce its own Smartwatches, it just creates the operating system, Android Wear. So it has no problem when different Smartwatches are being used with Android Smartphones even if the watches are not running Android Wear. With the iPhone, it is a different kettle of fish.

Apple has entered the fray with its own Smartwatch and in fact, they are releasing a new version sometime this year. Knowing the intense competition between the two giants in the Smartphone arena, it is unlikely that they could form any partnership when it comes to wearables. There is no way Apple is going to allow iPhone users access to another Smartwatch when their own wearable exists.

So do not expect to be able to use your Samsung Gear Smartwatch with your iPhone either now or in the future. The possibility will become even more remote if Samsung makes a compete shift to Tizen. Tizen and iOS will be two parallel operating systems.

6. Samsung Pay?

Samsung Gear S2 came equipped with NFC (Near Field Communication), fuelling hope that it could be used with Samsung Pay, Samsung’s answer to Android and Apple Pay. This has yet to become a reality. But could it finally happen with Gear S3? Maybe and maybe not; it could fall either way.

Fingers crossed.

7. Luxury edition

Finally, there are concrete reports that Samsung is collaborating with Luxury Jeweler, de Grisogono to create a luxury version of the Gear 3. But while the Gear S3 is expected to debut this year, the luxury edition is expected to launch later in 2017 at a cost of several thousand dollars.

Expected Pricing

The Gear S2 basic costs $299 while the Classic model costs $349. A 3G-enabled model begins at $359. We have already seen that there will be a number of variants for the Gear S3. Samsung could stick to the same price ranges but there are high chance the Gear S3 could start at a much higher price.

Our expectations are that there will be a Samsung Gear S3 base model starting at $300, and maybe even a more fitness-oriented mode for cheaper. (think Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $299) Higher end models could go as high as $500 and even $600. If they debut a luxury edition, apart from the one they have collaborated on with de Grisogono, expect it to breach the $1,000 mark.

Of course all this depends on Samsung being able to prove itself capable of creating a really good Smartwatch. Only then can it command such price tags.

Release Date

Samsung Gear S2 was released in September 2015 at the IFA exhibition in Germany. It is widely expected that the Gear S3 will be released exactly a year later at the same exhibition in September 2016.

Last Words

Samsung has had an early start in the sprint to dominate the smartwatch market. Though they had a bumpy start, things seem to be getting in shape quickly. The Gear S2 made a big splash and has remained at the top ever since with not-so-bad sales numbers. Gear S3 will make an even bigger splash.

Are you excited by the upcoming Samsung Gear S3? What features do you hope to see? Feel free to leave your comment below and if there is a report or rumor that may have passed us, let’s hear it.
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