It’s no secret that Samsung has been heavily involved in the wearables market having been one of the first companies to venture into making a smartwatch with the original Galaxy Gear last year, which was subsequently followed up with the addition of the Gear 2 and Gear Fit smartwatches at Mobile World Congress and the Gear Live smartwatch, which runs Google’s Android Wear OS, later in the year.

However, all of Samsung’s smartwatches have had one thing in common – the need to be tethered to a Samsung smartphone and its mobile network connection to make and receive phone calls, send messages and use apps. That was until last night when Samsung announced its newest smartwatch, the Gear S, a 3G SIM enabled smartwatch, can use its own network connection to continue being functional even after you’ve left your phone behind.

The Gear S has a 2 inch curved Super AMOLED display with a rectangular, 320×480 screen resolution as opposed to the square 320×320 resolution of previous Gear smartwatches. It runs on a dual core 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. It also has a 300mAh battery which Samsung claims should be good for up to two days of usage.

Like the Gear 2s and now the original Gear as well, the Gear S runs on Samsung’s home-made Tizen OS and will have additional software preloaded onto it out-of-the-box which will be able to take advantage of its mobile connection. It has built-in GPS functionality and will be able to use turn-by-tun navigation provided by Nokia’s HERE maps, as well as having a version of Nike+’s Running app installed for fitness buffs looking for an excuse to leave their smartphones at home. Speaking of healthcare, Samsung have also packed the same heart rate sensor that is found in the Galaxy S5 (and the other Gears) along with an IP67 rating to keep water and dust from being a problem in the long run.

Local availability has not yet been confirmed, but we are checking with Samsung in South Africa to find out if the Gear S is making its way to our shores.

[Source, Images – Samsung]