Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cellular-Equipped Smartwatches Coming?

Smartwatches are good for checking a user’s pulse and email, but soon may allow wearers to answer the phones. Samsung is working on a version of its Gear 2 device with built-in support for cellular networks that would make it possible for users to receive phone calls.

Besides the cool sci-fi aspect, a smartwatch with an independent data connection could provide users with the ability to sync and update data more frequently and accurately. It could also give location data and even transmit live video if it can be combined with an onboard camera.

Use of the device would be limited to Korea initially, but the first real obstacle to the device is that it could become too bulky to attract consumer interest. Size will be added to the Gear 2 as it is modified to support both SIM cards and cellular radio.

Battery life could be another deal-breaker. Samsung increased the battery life of its original Galaxy Gear device from 24 hours to two to three days for the Gear 2. However, the cellular radio necessary to make phone calls might cut the battery life to 24 hours or less, which could make it much less palatable for consumers.

The first version of the Gear 2 smartwatch will be limited to Bluetooth connectivity when it is released in April. Users will be able to make and receive phone calls on the device as long as it’s connected to a smartphone.

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