Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S smartband starts shipping to the US on November 7, the company announced today. The device looks and acts more than a little like will.i.am’s PULS cuff, but not as slick: two inches wide with a curved Super AMOLED touch screen and built-in SIM card so it can stand alone without being tethered to a phone.
Fitness tracking is done with a Nike+ app (question: does this put the Gear S in the Apple HealthKit ecosystem?); location tracking and navigation use Nokia’s HERE but require connection with a phone. Emails and text can be composed with two bad options: voice recognition or a QWERTY keyboard. (Typing on a two-inch 480×360 screen? Really?)
The Gear S has a 300mAh battery; no claims for life or charge cycle are made. The band appears to be a conventional plastic/rubber number, not nearly as elegant as the PULS.
It will be available through AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Pricing is a little slippery, this being the cell phone business, but is roughly $350 plus monthly service.