Samsung Electronics began selling its Galaxy Watch in South Korea on Sunday and vowed to oust global market leader Apple Watch.
The Korean company had first revealed the look of its latest smartwatch earlier in August while unveiling its new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone.
To unify its smart devices under the Galaxy brand, Samsung has abandoned its Galaxy Gear brand and renamed the smartwatch the Galaxy Watch.
With the importance of the internet of things (IoT) – the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity which enables these things to connect and exchange data – continuing to grow, Samsung is keen to have a strong presence in the smartwatch market.
According to data compiled by market research company IDC, the sales growth of wearable devices is continuing to increase with the sales up by 8.2 per cent compared with this time last year.
The total number of shipments of wearable devices is expected to reach 124.9 million this year.
IDC also predicts that smartwatches will become increasingly important in the wearable device market. By 2022 smartwatches will account for 44.6 per cent of all sales of wearable devices.
Samsung says its Galaxy Watch will have a long battery life of three to four days before it needs to be recharged and will help its users manage their everyday health.
The Galaxy Watch is available in two sizes: one is 46 millimetres (1.8 inches) in diameter with a battery life of up to 168 hours; the other is 42 millimetres in diameter and has up to 120 hours of battery life.
There will be two versions of the smartphones – one version supported by the 4G Long-Term Evolution high-speed wireless network and the other supported only by Bluetooth.
The LTE network-supported smartphones will cost 399,300 won (US$358) for the larger model and 379,500 won for the smaller model; the Bluetooth-supported version will cost 359,700 won for the larger model and 339,900 won for the smaller model.
Those users with smartphones supported by the LTE network will be able to make and receive phone calls via the Galaxy Watch without using their smartphones.
Samsung is confident that the look of its latest smartwatches will attract trendy consumers.
It says the Galaxy Watch is targeting the “digital native generation”, and has “an outer design that covers a wide range of styles, ranging from classical to casual moods”.
While Samsung expects more people to wear its smartwatches, it remains to be seen whether it can compete with Apple Watch products, which have gained a dominant position in the global smartwatch market.
Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone maker, but it is only the No 3 player in the smartwatch market.
During this year’s second quarter, from April 1 to June 30, Samsung shipped 900,000 smartwatches to claim 10.5 per cent of the global market, according to data provided by Strategy Analytics.
While Apple maintained its dominance with a 44.4 per cent market share during the three-month period, Fitbit rose to second place with 15.2 per cent of global sales.
To solidify its lead, Apple is set to unveil the fourth generation of its Apple Watch before the end of this year.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the latest Apple Watch will have a larger display and a longer battery life.
Given that the Apple Watch Series 3 was announced on September 12 last year, and went on sale only 10 days later, industry watchers predict that the fourth-generation Apple Watch will be on sale from next month.
This article was originally written by Baek Byung-yeul for The Korea Times.