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Samsung's Next Smartwatch May Work as Standalone Phone

Samsung is reportedly prepping a new smartwatch that will double as a standalone phone. The wrist-worn device, which would give Dick Tracy's communicator a run for its money, is said to make its debut between June and July, and will run on Samsung's own Tizen operating system.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung is already in talks with carriers in the U.S., Europe and South Korea about the watch. Unlike Samsung's current Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, the as-of-yet unnamed smartwatch will reportedly feature a built-in SIM, allowing it to make and receive phone calls without needing to be tethered to a smartphone.

MORE: Best Smartwatches 2014

This isn't the first time we've heard rumors that Samsung was working on a smartwatch that doubles as a standalone phone. Previous reports indicated that the Korean electronics giant was working on a version of its Gear 2 watch with a built-in USIM that would allow it to make calls. Those rumors also said the new watch would be a bit bulkier than the current Gear 2 in order to accommodate the USIM chip and a slightly larger battery.

Samsung's watch wouldn't be the first such device to feature its own SIM. The super-sized Neptune Pine, which features a 2.5-inch display, includes a SIM, as does the WatchPhone and Goophone.

The wearable market is expected to explode in the coming years, with market research group IDC estimating as many as 19.2 million such devices being shipped this year, alone. That said, the smartwatch market is still relatively small. In fact, Samsung shipped 500,000 units of its first-generation smartwatch, the roundly panned Galaxy Gear, in the first-quarter of 2014. That device accounted for 71 percent of the total smartwatch market volume.

Samsung currently has three smartwatches on the market, the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit. With this hybrid watch/ phone and another Android Wear-powered device expected to come to market in the coming months, the company could eventually offer five different smartwatches with three different operating systems. This glut of options may cause Samsung to put one or two of the watches out to pasture. We'll just have to wait and see.

via: The Wall Street Journal