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.
Samsung is set to launch its Galaxy Gear smart watch on 4 September at the IFA in Berlin and the leaks about this device’s specifications refuse to end.
The latest leaks come from VentureBeat which has put out images (taken from a video) of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch and key specifications of the watch.
The report on VentureBeat says that the device looks like a new wearable fitness device to rival a Nike Fuelband or Fitbit Flex — a smartphone companion rather than a smartphone alternative.
The report adds that the Galaxy Gear has a “high-quality OLED display and square screen”, Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi, over 10 hours battery life and “4-megapixel camera built into the strap along with tiny speakers in the clasp.”
It also supports social media integration with Facebook and Twitter and has access to email even when not connected to the smartphone, according to the report.
The app which is called Gear manager will let users pair their phone via NFC or Bluetooth. After you have connected the watch, you can choose the personal settings and the options in the Galaxy Gear include Clocks (Clock designs probably), My apps, Samsung Apps, Find my watch, Settings.
A report on AmongTech has said that the watch will have a 2.5 inch OLED touchscreen display with 320×320 resolution and a dual-core processor. The report says that there will be 8 and 6 GB models of the watch.
Let us know in the comments box if you would actually buy a smartwatch.
After Apple, Samsung and Google, another company is now rumored to be building a smart watch: South Korea’s electronics giant LG.
According to Korea Times, citing a source familiar with the matter, LG is building both a smart watch and a product similar to Google Glass.
“The company has spared no efforts to invest in products that it believes are must-haves to stay ahead technology wise in the market, whatever the situation may be,” the source said.
Of course, details about the devices are lacking, which means we now have not one but four “upcoming” smart watches, and absolutely nothing is known about any of them.
It’s possible these companies consider the smart watch the next big thing. Remember some of these companies, namely LG, have built a phone-watch hybrid before.
However, we’re more inclined to believe that nowadays, no major consumer electronics manufacturer wants to be left behind on a new product category, even while we’re still deep in rumor territory.
Which company — Apple, Samsung, Google or LG — is most likely to build a smart watch you’d actually want to use? Share your thoughts in the comments.