Samsung is rumoured to be unveiling its own round smartwatch at MWC in early March (though, technically, the company usually hosts its Unpacked events a few days before, so it will likely be late February). The company announced three smartwatches at MWC last year, but this year’s watch will be very different.
Up until now, Samsung has mostly stuck to square or retangular devices. Though the Gear S was a curved design with rounded corners, it still had four distinct sizes. That could change with a device codenamed Orbis, which apparently be round (like the Moto 360 and the G Watch R from LG) and feature a spinning ring around the outside of the watch face, similar to the dive bezel on a traditional watch.
What wasn’t clear from those early reports was the function of this ring. On Thursday, SamMobile published some information relating to this ring and how it will enhance the functionality of the watch. The site says this information comes via a trusted source and that the rotating dial will allow for a broader spectrum of control outside of the touchscreen.
For instance, though you scan use the touchscreen to browse through recent apps, but you can also cycle through apps by slowly turning the rotary dial to the right while in the recent apps menu. From the home screen, ring rotation will show widgets in use as well as content of widgets and notifications. You can also use it to reject calls, reject and send a preset message, end a call, dismiss alarms, find your connected device, check the weather, and control your music (skip forward or back through tracks).
This is apparently just the beginning of what the ring will allow you to do with your watch. It’s obviously worlds above the purely decorative bezel on the G Watch R (pictured above alongside the Gear S), but it also remedies a lot of the problems people have with finger input on such a small touch screen.
No word yet on whether or not this device will be a Tizen device or if it will run on Android Wear. Only one of Samsung’s six smartwatches have been based on Android Wear. Outside of software, we’ve heard that this watch will also benefit from wireless charging, as opposed to the finicky snap-on cradle we’re used to seeing on Gear watches.