Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled a smartwatch on Wednesday that works as an accessory to its market-leading Galaxy smartphones, with a small screen offering basic functions like photos, hands-free calls and instant messaging.
The world’s top handset maker hopes the Galaxy Gear will boost the appeal of its range of Android-powered smartphones, as it battles to maintain its supremacy in the rapidly saturating high-end mobile market against arch rival Apple Inc.
Its launch, timed to coincide with the start of the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, also signals that the South Korean giant is more than just a fast follower in innovation behind Apple, which is preparing to release a new iPhone next week but is yet to go public with any wearable devices.
“It’s a companion device that will keep us constantly connected,” Samsung Executive Vice President of Marketing Lee Young-hee told reporters in Seoul ahead of the smartwatch’s launch. Her remarks had been embargoed until Wednesday.
“It will increase user experience with the Galaxy Note 3 and with this, we aim to create a new lifestyle trend, initially targetting young trend-setters and style icons.”
The smartwatch features a 1.63-inch (4.14-cm) screen as well as a basic camera, and will connect to Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 3 smartphone via wireless Bluetooth technology. It will make calls, display messages, record videos and snap photos, all while the user’s phone stays in their pocket or handbag.