Apple Watch digital crown

The Digital Crown on the Apple Watch is quintessentially Apple. Engineered with the traditional watch vocabulary in mind, the Digital Crown makes it easy to magnify content on such a small-screen device while enabling precise control and quick adjustments.

Crucially, the Digital Crown lets you interact with the Apple Watch software and apps without your fingers obscuring on-screen content. If you thought that Samsung, Apple’s arch rival, would respond by ripping off the Digital Crown wholesale, think again.

The South Korean company has seemingly engineered an innovative input method of its own in preparation for “the next generation Gear device.” As first reported by SamMobile, Samsung’s solution corresponds nicely with the need to navigate content without obstructing the view.

Enter a rotating, round bezel — a new way to not touch the smartwatch screen.

The new input method is outlined in the official documentation accompanying Samsung’s new smartwatch software development kit (SDK) which it released yesterday in preparation for “the next generation Gear device,” which would be round like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 001

As you could imagine, the round screen would make possible a rotating bezel that could be turned clockwise and counterclockwise in order to navigate lists, change settings and access other software features of the device.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 002

The rotating bezel may allow for the same level of precision and nimble adjustments like the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 003

As you can see for yourself, Samsung provides several use cases for the rotating bezel, such as selecting a contact (above) and selecting different items arranged in a circle (below).

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 004

Needless to say, the rotating bezel would lend itself perfectly to magnifying content, zooming in on photos and generally enlarging content on the small screen, as illustrated below.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 005

Basically a metal ring running around the face of the watch, the rotating bezel is expected to be used throughout the software powering the upcoming device. Shown bellow: entering characters using the rotating frame.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 006

Other examples given include using the bezel to interact with notifications, controlling the volume and changing the value of just about any software slider.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 007

It’s actually quite cool when you come to think of it.

We’ll have to try out the new smartwatch with its new input method in person to make the definite judgment about its practicality and usefulness in real-life.

Unlike some reviewers who dismissed the Digital Crown as a gimmick, I find myself using the feature on a daily basis for anything from scrolling to changing field values to magnifying my photos and Home screen icons.

From the Apple Watch Technology webpage:

Every new product we’ve introduced has been defined by a unique input device. With Apple Watch, it’s the Digital Crown. On mechanical watches, the crown has historically been used to set the time and date and to wind the mainspring. We reimagined it as a versatile tool that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display.

Pinching to zoom, as you do on iPhone, is impractical. But turning the Digital Crown allows you to navigate nimbly and precisely, without obstructing your view. You can zoom in and out of photos, quickly scroll through lists, input data, or press it like a button to return to the Home screen. The Digital Crown is an integral part of the Apple Watch experience.

The next Samsung Gear smartwatch, internally codenamed Project Orbis, is expected to be formally announced alongside the Galaxy Note 5 during IFA 2015, which runs September 4-9 in Berlin, Germany.

The new Tizen-powered smartwatch (yeah, they’re not using Android Wear) should be marketed under the Gear A moniker. It should use a Super AMOLED display technology, run Samsung’s own Exynos processor and include Wi-Fi connectivity.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 008

Speaking of the screen, the device is expected to have a 1.65-inch 360-by-360 pixel resolution round screen with a Retina-class pixel density of 305 pixels per inch.

It’s also thought to sport the GPS, a built-in 3G cellular connection for data and phone calls and include an array of on-board sensors: heartbeat, accelerometer, gyroscope, UV, pressure, magnetic compass and ambient light sensor.

Samsung Rotating Bezel image 009

What’s your take on Samsung’s rotating bezel?

Will it become a thing? Would you prefer it over Apple’s Digital Crown and if so, why?

Source: SamMobile

  • That_Fruitarian

    Sounds like they are ripping off Nest this time.

    • Benedict

      …then Nest must have ripped it off from BMW’s iDrive

    • Fanboy 

      Stop right there, nobody is ripping off anybody here -_- this is a pretty cool idea from Samsung, although in real life I feel it would be highly inconvenient having to rotate the entire bezel. I think Apple Watch makes it so easy and smooth you just use 1 finger to scroll the Digital Crown easily

      • Manuel Molina

        I felt this article was so baise to the idea that its Samsung and making a watch with something that is different with a similar idea. At least you are the blinded sheep who sees that this sounds like a very good idea, unlike others who thinks this is a copy. It isn’t.

      • Mr. Right

        The bezel feels like it would work better because its bigger which would be easier. Also you could do it with either hand and some of the feature are really cool like the keyboard.

      • @dongiuj

        Depends on how easy/smooth the bezel rotates. If it’s as smooth as the crown on an apple watch, wouldn’t it be just the same? I would think so if not better as it’s bigger therefor easier to operate. I think the problem today is that some people can’t think past anything apple does.

  • This actually sounds kind of cool… I’m interested.

    • Yeah I like it.

    • Agreed. If anything, I might like Samsung’s idea better. Of course that wouldn’t work on Apple Watch’s square screen but i still find it more interesting that the Digital Crown, which I’m still not a fan of.

      My only concern is how much dirt could easily get stuck under that wheel

      • Andy

        You don’t get dirt on the digital crown? lol

      • Digital Crown has much less surface area at its base to collect dirt. This thing would collect dirt all around the watch.

      • @dongiuj

        My watch which I’ve had for six years has a rotating bezel, no dirt in there.

      • Merman123

        Just out of curiosity, how is this in any way more interesting?

      • To me it would likely feel more natural to turn the bezel to navigate than turning the DC, which again, I don’t particularly like.

      • Mr. Right

        Look at the keyboard… that is interesting by itself

    • Yea I actually like the idea of the rotating bezel more. Though I think Apple wanted it to look like a traditional watch with its digital crown. Unfortunately I wont like the round/circular screen that would come with the Rotating bezel.

  • Armed in the Villa

    A small crown his more ergonomically practical that a turning knob after prolonged usage but that’s just one’s man opinion

    • Benedict

      When the Apple watch came out, I already thought that the digital crown is hard to access when it is worn near wrist and hand. I could imagine that the round bezel is more easy to use. But we have to try ourselfs…

  • Joey_Z

    Even though I think Samsung gets the tip and courage from digital crown that you need to go back to physical inputs on such a smaller device. This is actually an innovative solution that won’t be called a straight on copy. It reminds me the Speedmaster series, which is a good thing. Still, the key is in the details – turning resistance, click or click free, UI integration… and we all know Samsung can’t write great OS…

  • Alberto Espinal

    If they make the rotating bezel clickable that would be more interesting instead of touching the screen when something is selected!!

  • Jamessmooth

    I like this idea. Also, I don’t find the digital crown to be a “gimmick” at all. Serves a purpose, looks more like a watch…. etc.

  • Crouch

    That’s sick. Don’t care what the fanboys have to say. Thumbs up from me.

  • TK421

    3G. Not innovative but I would get it just for that. No more Bluetooth!!

  • veggiedude

    30 years ago I had a watch with a similar bezel. It was neat. But it had a drawback. After about a year or two of use, the bezel was no longer as easy to move as it was in the beginning. In fact it became seriously stuck. Grit and dirt found its way under the bezel. I doubt they have found a way around this.

  • Imad Ghandour

    A good idea, things like this from not necessarily Samsung, this competition, is what allows innovation where companies always try to out do each other. If this didn’t exists, all companies would in my opinion go by the motto ‘if it aint broke dont fix it’.

  • mahe

    I don’t get the idea of a round smartwatch.
    The screen is small anyway, this way it looks much smaller. I just can’t imagine how to usefully use the side parts of the LCD

  • Matt

    Looks like an awesome idea of you ask me. All I care about now is how the watch is going to look.

  • zoLa siWisa

    Ilike the GPS part Though the phone part of it is not as my favorite. Though I saw some watch phones that do have text messages and calling. It’s cool though my issue is to not have a phone at all if all that is included on the phone. What if I would like to have a square watch how practical it would be for the crown wheel thinking?

  • john diaz

    Buckle up Apple you have some competition coming your way. this seems very interesting.

  • Brutal07

    What would be interesting is if they would make the bezel, instead of a rotating one, a capacitive sensing one, which you can run your finger along and accomplish the same thing, without any moving parts.

    • WiseBlasian

      Like the iPod click wheel! That is what I was thinking about.

  • nyangejr


  • Martynet

    hmmm… it’s not a bad idea, but I still think that the rectangle display works better for smartwatch… Round display just doesn’t deliver the comfort. It’s a bit claustrophobic…

  • credulousgeek

    i honestly hate shamesung this is bullshit innovation now shamesing is all ready to copy apple on a smart watch businesss seriously get a life shamesung.Digital crown is far more superior and nifty thing to date on any smart watch.

    • Mr. Right

      How was your date with Tim Cook?

      • Eni


  • Smart idea, we’ll see what ellse the next gen gear offers to justify it’s price tag…

  • Mahmud Alemdar

    Another day, another copying from Samsung with very little to no effort at all. Do i have to rotate the bezel all the time? Sorry but that really sucks man..

  • Carlos Gonzalez

    sooo basically the Ben 10 watch???