​Samsung releases Wi-Fi only Gear S smartwatch – but only in Japan

New version no longer requires a separate SIM card but loses GPS
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If someone high up at Samsung has a plan, we imagine it to be a single piece of paper containing just one word: CHAOS.

After releasing six smartwatches in the last year, Samsung has outed a second version of its latest effort, the Gear S – but only in Japan.

Essential reading: Which Samsung Gear smartwatch should you buy?

While the curved screened Gear S’ unique selling point is its cellular connection via a separate SIM card, a second Wi-Fi only version has been listed by a Japanese network. That means users won’t need to buy a separate cellular plan with their smartwatch, which could boost its appeal.

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The need for a separate plan has been a sticking point for many potential buyers, not only due to the extra cost, but the need for a different telephone number.

Some networks, such as O2 in the UK, have already launched sharer plans for data, but it still means your Samsung smartwatch would have a different number to your actual phone – a logistical nightmare.

Essential reading: Best Samsung Gear smartwatch apps

While the news is cause for cautious celebration – remember, there’s no confirmation that the model will be launched beyond Japan – there is a downside.

The culling of the cellular features seems to have sacrificed GPS connectivity, which was one of the top features of the Gear S. Built-in GPS adds serious sports credentials, and the full-featured Gear S certainly seemed to be the smartwatch of choice for fitness fans.

Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear S review

We’ve contacted Samsung to find out if there are any plans to release the Gear S Wi-Fi outside Japan and confirmation on the GPS features, and we’ll update the story as soon as we hear any information.


James Stables

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James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.


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