Samsung’s challenge to the Apple Watch revealed

Samsung's upcoming smartwatch will have a round face surrounded by a rotating bezel, images released by the South Korean electronics giant showed on Tuesday.

The new watch is codenamed "Orbis" at present and is expected to be launched in September. Its bezel will allow users to move around the 1.18-inch circular screen, zoom in and out of pictures and control the volume without touching the screen, images from the developers kit compiled by website SamMobile showed. The bezel will therefore serve a similar purpose to the crown on the side of the Apple Watch.

Samsung has launched six smartwatches since 2013, pursuing a strategy of bringing products out quickly and seeing what sticks with consumers.


Globally, smartwatches are in a nascent stage, with only 3.6 million units shipped in 2014, but this figure is set to balloon to 101 million in 2020, according to an IHS study. The release of the Apple Watch in April is set to boost awareness of the wearable.

Samsung has been in the smartwatch space for a while and its latest device is an attempt to catch up to the competition. Companies such as Motorola and LG have all released devices over the past few months, with features constantly improving.

Device makers are looking to make smartwatches that are fashionable as well as high-tech. LG and Motorola both released round-faced smartwatches and Samsung's latest design follows this trend. However, Apple opted for a square face with interchangeable bands.

Samsung's new push into the 'Internet of Things'

Samsung's new smartwatch will use Tizen, the company's own operating system, as opposed to Google's Android Wear. Samsung's previous smartwatch, the Gear S, also operated on Tizen, but this could be a drawback for the new device.

"Going on their own path means they have to get developers on board in large numbers to make apps for Tizen," Ian Fogg, head of mobile at IHS, told CNBC by phone. "If a developer has a choice between Apple Watch, Android and Tizen, I can't see it being more than a third smart watch platform to target."

Samsung's upcoming wearable will have a number of sensors including an accelerometer and heart-rate monitor. It will have WiFi, cellular and Bluetooth connectivity.