2. Depending on the size of the display, you could see plenty of information on a standalone smartwatch. The Neptune Pine, which startup Neptune is building with funds from Kickstarter, has a very large (for a smartwatch) 2.4-in. display with cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, which makes it large enough to run most Android apps. Conceivably, a standalone Gear 2 could make it possible to search an Internet browser on your wrist, which might work for viewing YouTube videos, if not for reading stories on the New York Times site. The same applies to text messages and emails, the latter which might be readable, at least the subject line and sender.
3. With a speaker and microphone in the Gear 2 and other standalone devices, you could make voice calls. The Gear 2 will also have a camera, which opens up the realm of the "Dick Tracy" watch, where video calling is possible.
4. Because of the cellular connection, a standalone smartwatch would have an Internet connection allowing connections to virtually any server in the world. That means a vendor could sell services in the same way that Amazon sells services to Kindle tablets, according to Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. This kind of value-add might be an ideal ecosystem for Google if it wanted to give more widespread connectivity to its coming universe of Android Wear watches from Motorola, LG and others to, say, Nest thermostats and other devices in a home or business far away.
5. It would be cool to have one. All the big vendors are hoping that early tech adopters get onboard with wearables. There are already more than 100 different styles of sport bands and smartwatches on the market, with nearly all paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Selling less-expensive sports bands that monitor your health is one way that retailers want to lure users into higher uses, and adding cellular could have some appeal.
6. It helps Samsung. At Samsung, there is a penchant for building "one of everything," which is possible because Samsung is a huge company and also makes displays, processors and many of the parts needed for consumer electronics. Samsung is likely to make a cellular-connected smartwatch partly because it can, and that puts pressure on its less capable competitors to match its efforts, analysts said.
"I am not sure a standalone smartwatch will help Samsung in the battle, but it certainly follows their approach to enter any market," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Kantar WorldPanel. "It's their 'no bullet will be spared' approach, to follow that battle analogy."
1. Hardware costs might be the biggest worry for users of a standalone smartwatch with all the bells and whistles of something like an LG Watch Phone, initially listed at $800. That price is more than a high-end unlocked smartphone costs today just for the hardware. In fact, that's more than the cost of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and the original Bluetooth-connected Galaxy Gear smartwatch for $300. AT&T on Thursday said it will cut $50 off the $299 price for the Bluetooth-connected Gear 2 for a limited time when a customer also buys a Galaxy S5 smartphone for $200 plus contract.