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When can I buy a smartwatch from Samsung?

A hostess shows a Smartwatch by Sony on February 27, 2013 at the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, in Barcelona.

Tech titans are trying to pivot from smartphone to smartwatch but will it work? We’ll get our first indication tomorrow when Samsung is expected to be the first tech titan to release a “smartwatch.”

There are rumors are Apple is working on one. And a few days ago, Google said it bought a start-up that makes Android-powered smart watches. 

Of course, smartwatches aren’t new. Sony makes one. And this year, a Kickstarter campaign produced the Pebble. These watches are tethered to your smartphone. If you get an email or tweet on your phone, you get a notice to check it on your watch. But while the watches are a cult hit with techies, they haven’t caught on with the rest of us, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

“If Samsung doesn’t raise the bar from what we’ve seen from other watches, it’s really going to be a yawner,” said Rotman Epps.

Rumors are Samsung’s smartwatch will have a 2.5 inch display and run Android. It’s also supposed to have a camera, respond to voice commands and run fitness apps. Sort of like the stuff your smartphone already does -- so what’s the point?

“Samsung itself has said it sees smartphone growth slowing, and so they’re looking for new products,” Rotman Epps said.

Tech companies can still sell a lot of smartphones in emerging markets. But in the West, the market is maturing. And some people are getting gadget fatigue, said Betsy McCall, a 37-year-old artist in San Francisco.

“I actually really like techie things but I can pretty confidently say no, I would not buy it. Even recently I’ve been experiencing being less available,” Rotman Epps said.

And McCall said that a gadget that simply promises to connect her, is another gadget she doesn’t need.

“What we’re talking about here is an evolution not necessarily a revolution,” said Scott Steinberg, an analyst with Tech Savvy. He believes wearable technology has a future but it’s going to take something more than a connected watch to get it one.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.
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Queena, since my trip to Tokyo 2 years ago, I've had and currently use 2 smartphone watches within the USA now and it's awesome. These devices have been available for years but we don't take advantage of the available technology. Also, the difference between the geeks, Dick Tracy and myself, is that I wear mine with mad swagger. The fashion of cell phone watches is here already. In the words of Will Smith "I make this look good". If you want the skinny, hit me back. And that's whaz up.

Is it known whether smartwatches will increase or decrease one's exposure to radiation from cell phones? With a range of 30 feet I could see how smartwatches may allow folks to remove their phones from their pockets; however if folks keep their phones in their pockets (say in meetings, movie theaters) while wearing smartwatches perhaps overall radiation exposure is increased?

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