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Exclusive: Samsung’s round smartwatch to have a rotating bezel ring and crown-shaped power button

Among the few Android Wear smartwatches on the market, Motorola’s Moto 360 is perhaps the most attractive of the bunch, thanks to its classic circular watch-like design. We’ve been hearing about a round smartwatch being in the works at Samsung for some time now, and we exclusively confirmed recently that this smartwatch – codenamed Orbis – would be announced at MWC next month. Today, we have some interesting info on the Orbis (that’s what we will call it from here on out) and its design – according to our sources, the Orbis will feature both a crown-shaped power button and a rotating bezel ring on top.

Apple has made quite a big deal of the digital crown that is featured on the Apple Watch, and while Samsung is matching Apple in the fact that the power button on the Orbis will be crown-shaped, the company is not adding any specific functionality on the crown. Instead, those functions will be delegated to the rotating bezel ring on the top of the watch. We’ve seen a couple of patent applications which revealed that Samsung is working on a concept smartwatch with such a bezel ring, and it looks like it will debut on the company’s upcoming smartwatch.

We’re not exactly clear on the functionality the bezel ring will offer. Like Apple’s digital crown, things like zooming in and out of pictures and scrolling through lists could be achieved by rotating the ring; it could also allow for functions like selecting the time when setting an alarm. Samsung will be providing an SDK for developers so they can build more features around the ring, so even if the company doesn’t put in a lot of features itself, third-party developers will likely find a way to take advantage of the ring in their apps.

As for the power button, don’t expect it to anything compared to the one found on existing Samsung smartwatches. On the Orbis, it will offer functions like waking up the screen, launching S Voice (through a double press), and sending an emergency message. It’s possible the crown will enable a few other functions, but again, most of the advanced stuff will be handled by that bezel ring.

We’re working on getting more info on what could be the most attractive Samsung smartwatch yet. One thing is for certain: the Orbis is looking like a really high-end watch, so don’t be surprised if it’s more costly than even the Gear S. As usual, none of this information is final until it comes straight from Samsung, so do take it with a slight pinch of salt.

What do you think about the Orbis? Would a round smartwatch with the above features make you interested in smartwatches?

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