Samsung Gear A smartwatch: What to expect from the Apple Watch rival

Samsung looks set take another run at the smartwatch category with the Samsung Gear A. Here’s what we’re expecting to see from it.

You have to hand it to Samsung. It’s certainly tenacious. We’ve lost count of the number of underwhelming smartwatches the tech giant has churned out in recent years, yet still they come.

In the Samsung Gear A (formerly referred to as Orbis), the Korean company will be hoping for a dramatic about-turn to its fortunes after a number of smartwatches in a short space of time including the Android Wear-based Samsung Gear Live and Samsung Gear S.

Given the radical overhaul the company has given to its smartphone line in 2015 with the Note 5 on the way, there’s plenty of reason to believe it will succeed here too.

Here are some of the main rumours, leaks, and projections made regarding the Samsung Gear A.

Related: Apple Watch 2 release date

It’ll be round

We mentioned that Samsung was quite prepared to rip up the design book when its products weren’t striking a chord, and the Gear A will almost certainly look completely different to the Gear S and the SmartWatch 3.

Samsung is finally done with the square form factor, and the Samsung Gear A will be its first round smartwatch.

There have been numerous reports from various sources attesting to that suggestion. This culminated in the company itself confirming the basic circular shape of the Gear A at its Tizen conference late last month.

Related: Apple Watch vs Pebble in-depth comparison
Samsung Gear A

Tizen, not Android Wear

Yes, as that last point suggests, the Samsung Gear A will run on Samsung’s own Tizen OS rather than Android Wear.

It’s a bold move, given how poorly received the Samsung Gear 2 was last year – in part due to its half-baked Tizen OS and lack of meaningful applications.

Apparently, though, Samsung will be debuting an all-new, specially designed UI with the Gear A. Hopefully it’ll represent a big improvement in usability, not to mention a few more decent apps.

Rotating bezel

Tied in with the shift to a more rounded shape is the news that the Samsung Gear A will feature an innovative rotating bezel ring.

At the aforementioned Tizen conference, Samsung revealed that the movable ring would represent a “new interaction type.”

Early speculation seems to suggest that this screen-surrounding mechanism will act a bit like the Apple Watch’s digital crown, allowing you to scroll through content with a physical twist.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Note 4: What can we expect?
Samsung Gear A

Gear A specifications

There have been rumours as to the Samsung Gear A’s internal specifications. Apparently, it’ll be powered by a 1.2GHz Exynos 3472 dual-core processor with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 250mAh battery.

We’re not sure how big the Gear A’s display will be just yet, but the resolution is predicted to be 360 x 360. That’d be a step up from the 320 x 320 SmartWatch 3.

The Gear A is also tipped to feature Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, Wi-Fi, a gyroscope, GPS, a barometer, and a heart rate sensor. That’s pretty much a full complement of smartwatch components, then, aside from one omission.

We don’t see any sign of NFC in there, though we’d be surprised if the Gear A didn’t support Samsung Pay. Such an omission would leave the company’s new flagship smartwatch trailing the Apple Watch in a pretty major way. That doesn’t seem like Samsung’s style.

Remember, though, that Samsung Pay in the Samsung Galaxy S6 makes use of LoopPay mobile payment technology, which works on traditional card readers as well as NFC payment points. Maybe that technology doesn’t scale down to smartwatch size just yet.

It will be shown off at Samsung Unpacked or IFA 2015

The other thing that Samsung appeared to have confirmed at its Tizen conference was the official launch date of the Gear A.

As had been heavily rumoured, the Gear A is tipped to appear alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Plus at a special launch event on August 13.

There’s also been some speculation that Samsung could save the Gear A unveiling for IFA 2015 expo, which takes place at the beginning of September. Either way, you’re not going to have to wait much longer to see it.