Take a look at the newest smartwatches from Samsung, LG

Samsung and LG both released details about new smartwatches and wearables on Thursday, getting an early jump on the race to the holiday shopping season. Neither company announced when its wearables will hit the market -- or how much they will cost -- but both released pictures and some technical information about their products.

Samsung's new smartwatch, called the Gear S, has a 2-inch screen that curves around users' wrists, making it look far less bulky than other smartwatches on the market.


The curved screen on the Gear S takes some of the bulk out of the watch. (Composite of images provided courtesy of Samsung.)

The watch can make calls on its own (though not on 4G networks) and receive notifications from users' social networks and calendars. Unlike previous Samsung watches, the Gear S has a screen large enough to accommodate an on-screen keyboard to let people tap out messages. Users can also opt for Samsung's voice-control software, if the idea of using a keyboard that small isn't appealing. The watch can also pair with smartphones, though Samsung has not said which models will be compatible with the Gear S. The company said in a press release that users should be able to get about two days of use from a fully-charged battery. The watch has 4 GB of internal storage, as well a a heart rate monitor, compass and barometer. Samsung hasn't said how much the watch will cost; other Samsung smartwatches cost as much as $300. 


(Courtesy of Samsung)

The firm also announced the Gear Circle, a pair of headphones that doubles as a necklace when not in use. It is essentially a Bluetooth headset, though with a couple of additional features.


The Gear Circle in necklace and headphone modes. (Composite of images provided courtesy of Samsung)

Gear Circle users can receive calls, give voice commands and listen to music using the headphones. When it's not in use, users can close the headphones into a circle around their necks using its magnetic clasp. The Gear Circle will buzz when users get incoming calls and notifications.

LG also announced some early details about its upcoming G Watch R, which has a look so retro you may mistake it for a more traditional watch. The watch has a 1.3-inch round screen made of plastic, which LG promises makes the watch more durable and easy to read in direct sunlight. It also claims to be water resistant in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.



Like the Gear S, it can display notifications from social networks and calendars, track health and fitness data and run certain apps. It does not have the ability to make calls. The watch is set to launch in the last quarter of 2014; LG has not yet announced a price.


The LG G Watch R looks like, well, a normal watch. (Courtesy of LG)

The wearable market is certainly poised to get crowded over the next few months. Motorola's Moto 360 -- another round smartwatch -- is expected early this fall. And Apple is expected to waltz in to the market soon, possibly as early as Sept. 9, when it's hosting its next big media event.

 

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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Hayley Tsukayama · August 28