Smart Fashion: Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Unveiled.

September 5, 2013

Samsung has revealed its Galaxy Gear smart watch to great fanfare this week – it’s designed to “enhance the freedom of mobile communications”. 

The Galaxy Gear is a smartphone and fashion accessory that allows users to make calls from the watch and it can show incoming messages and calls on the screen to alert the user. There’s a camera, users can make short videos, and it’s connected to the Samsung smartphones using Bluetooth wireless.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Comes in a range of colours but the straps are not interchangeable (Source: Wired)

So is this just a gimmick or will it catch on – and is it a valuable new platform?

It is a feature-rich device, with an impressive number of compatible apps (such as Pocket, Path, Evernote & RunKeeper) but, the Galaxy Gear currently doesn’t have support from some popular apps. Samsung says it’s working with developers to bring more third-party apps to the Galaxy Gear.

It’s main benefit, as Matt Warman at the Telegraph rightly states, is that “it seeks explicitly to tether people less to their mobiles and to integrate technology more thoroughly into everyday lives” as well as helping those with nomophobia (people who become anxious if they are without their mobile phone), as the Galaxy Gear smartwatch allows you see the information on your watch without pulling out your device from your pocket or the depths of your handbag. This is the most compelling feature, dubbed ‘smart freedom’ as it allows the user to choose how, why, when and where they are connected. This is similar to Nokia’s Live Tiles on the Windows OS which continually updates as new data is pushed onto the Live Tiles.

A couple of downsides have been cited by critics from limited battery life to users having to speak into and hear from the watch instead of a handset, which is currently an unnatural behaviour. I also find it odd that it lack NFC capabilities as tapping in with you wrist seems more natural than with a phone and would open up advertising opportunities.

The Galaxy Gear currently only pairs with the Galaxy Note III, which is a potential limitation for cutomers. Fortunately, this is temporary as Samsung has confirmed that software updates (to be rolled out in October) will let the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II work with the Galaxy Gear.

While Apple has given no direct indication that it is working on a similar product (beyond a comment by chief executive Tim Cook earlier this year that “the wrist is interesting“), we expect them to announce an “iWatch” next week at its September 10 event And Google is reportedly developing its own Android-based smartwatch, according to the revelation that the company had recently acquired WIMM labs, builder of smartwatches.

What do you think of the new Samsung Galaxy Gear watch? Are you tempted to purchase the device (Several sources are quoting the US price as $299 (£191) or are you prepared to wait in anticipation for Apple’s iWatch offering?

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