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Continued: Review: New Samsung phones impressive, but new apps are key to beating upcoming iPhones

  • Article by: ANICK JESDANUN , Associated Press
  • Last update: September 4, 2014 - 1:40 AM

This device will need compelling content to be useful. Gamers might like this, but everyday consumers could tire of it quickly. Samsung could face the same problem it does with the side screen: Consumers won't buy it without enough content, and enough content won't be available without consumers.

Making things tougher is the fact that the VR works only with the Note 4 — not even the Edge. And there's no guarantee the VR will work with future phones such as a Note 5. That will further limit the VR's appeal.

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— GEAR S SMARTWATCH:

Smartwatches have been constrained in requiring a companion smartphone nearby. If that's the case, do you really need a second device to check email and Facebook? I can just check the phone.

The Gear S tries to solve that by working independently. It has its own SIM card, so it can grab notifications and other data over a 3G cellular connection. You can have calls from your main phone forwarded to the watch, as long as the phone is from Samsung. You can also make calls from the watch, but it'll appear as coming from a different number than your main phone. It's not yet clear how your wireless carrier will charge for service. Does it count as its own phone line, or is it a connected device, which costs less for service?

The watch also has a GPS sensor, so your runs are more accurately tracked than what the watch's pedometer can do. It also offers turn-by-turn directions for walking, using Here Maps from Nokia.

The Gear S is one to watch — no pun intended — though it's not certain yet whether Samsung will release it in the U.S.

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