Step in the right direction
While they are not the first, and they surely won’t be the last, the Samsung Galaxy Gear has been announced amidst all the excitement this week. There were a lot of rumours and leaks, and I have to say that Samsung have come out as winners at the end. No, I don’t think will be the device that causes the revolution they are hoping for, but it is a step in the right direction. Much like the first iPhone was, well, for me at least, a disappointment. But the next one was better. And the next. And then others learnt from it. Android happened. And look where we are now. People who would actively make fun of the smart phone carriers now have one in their pockets of handbags.
But what about the others?
This isn’t the first smart watch in the market. In fact, it isn’t even the first smart watch in the recent few months. Sony went ahead and announced their Sony Smartwatch 2 back in July (http://www.oxgadgets.com/2013/06/sonys-smartwatch-2.html). Then there are the likes of Pebble, which work on a very similar principle, though don’t quite work on the Android Platform. Of course, Qualcomm have also gone and announced the TOQ, so the market is starting to look very interesting. We must not forget though, that a lot of other smart watches exist, such as the ones fitness and sports enthusiasts wear, that map your runs, give you your caloric burn rate, and the sort. Also, we have seen the likes of Databank and what not.
The only problem is that while historically they have all been exciting and popular, they haven’t quite found their way in every home and wrist. Main reason being that they have either been expensive, or just been too difficult to use.
The idea is simple. To keep it simple. If you make it easy to use, people will use it, and buy it. That is what worked so well for the iPhone, and while we haven’t had a play with the Galaxy Gear, based on what we see, it seems to offer a simple enough solution. But so does the Toq, and how the market behaves to these two would be quite interesting. Obviously, price is another factor, and while the likes of Pebble are just above the £100 mark, the Galaxy Gear is 3 times that, which does make you think twice about buying one.
What Samsung think:
“Samsung’s ongoing smart device innovation leadership reflects our commitment to listen to our consumers who want their daily lives to be easier and more enjoyable. Samsung Galaxy Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives, and bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics. “Samsung Galaxy Gear frees users from the need to constantly check their smart devices while maintaining connections. It provides what we call ‘smart freedom’ by allowing users to choose how, why, when and where they are connected”.
What Samsung say others think:
[Evernote] Phil Libin, CEO
“The potential for wearable devices is incredibly exciting. Evernote strives to be a second brain, providing information to people when and how they need it, so they can lead better, smarter lives. It is important for us to be involved with products like the Samsung Galaxy Gear so we can start delivering on that promise, and better understand how and when people want to consume information through these new, innovative devices.”
[Glympse] Bryan Trussel, Co-founder & CEO
“Samsung is setting a very high bar for wearable technology with this stylised and incredibly functional device. Location sharing is a natural fit with the watch and we are thrilled to partner with a smart, innovative company like Samsung to provide their users with Glympse location technology.”
[Path] Dave Morin, CEO
“Path’s intimate social graph lends itself perfectly to wearable devices like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, sharing only relevant notifications from the people who matter most. Taking advantage of the built-in camera and touchscreen, Path on Galaxy Gear lets users to easily take photos, give feedback to friends, and post their location. We’re excited to evolve the Path experience on this breakthrough wearable device as well as our partnership with Samsung.”
What others think:
The internet is full of analysis as far as the Galaxy Gear goes. Among all the hype, there are a few comments that are going around. While we are not quoting any, here are a few of the concerns we have picked up:
- 25 hour battery life
- Need to pair it with the phone
- A bit too big/square
- Focussed on fitness/sports use, but too big for that
The best part of getting a Smartwatch from the likes of Samsung is that it comes preloaded with featured apps. There are apps that are all designed for the Galaxy Gear screen, who use the hardware to its best potential, and help you work out, share location, take pictures, find out the best price of what you are buying, or just tells you all about the win you are about to have.
This is probably what will make and break the sale of this watch!
What we think
So, what do we have to say about all this?
- Like I said above, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
- It looks a bit chunky, and that will go against it. Hate to say this, but all eyes on Apple now.
- The specific apps designed for this will do wonders, and that is where it is all focused.
- The price point is quite high. I am hoping it would come down as more watches appear in the market.
- The addition of a camera is brilliant. Not only does it allow you to take pictures on the whim, it actually lets you scan items like your wine to get all the information. Get ready for a whole new level of food photos!
- The ability to raise this to your ear to make phone calls is quite interesting. It is something that we’d be quite keen to try out. Mainly because other watches have packed in speakerphones, and that just means you can’t really have a call in public.
- Giving it voice commands, while a cool feature, is probably not that useful, once again, in public.
- However, both of the above could prove quite useful when driving. Obviously, rather have both hands on the wheel.
- One thing that I personally don’t like is that you can’t see the time without actually pressing a button, or accessing something. That takes away the very essence of a watch, where you can just glance to look at the time.
So yeah, that is what we think.Do tell us what you think!
You can read all the detailed specs below:
|800 MHz processor|
|1.63 inch (41.4mm) Super AMOLED (320 x 320)|
|1.9 Megapixel BSI Sensor, Auto Focus Camera / Sound & Shot|
HD(720p) Playback & Recording
Format : M4A
|Atooma is a contextually aware horizontal intelligence platform that makes your Galaxy Gear smarter.|
|Banjo gives you the power to see what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world.|
|Evernote watch app makes it easy to remember things by quickly capturing images and memories and bringing important reminders right to Galaxy Gear.|
|Glympse allows people to easily share their location temporarily and in real-time, letting recipients see their movements on a dynamic map.|
|eBay app allows you to complete all your transactions on eBay with ease and in real-time.|
|Line is a global messaging service available in over 230 countries worldwide.|
|MyFitnessPal tracks your nutrition and exercise, empowering you to achieve your personal health and fitness goals.|
|Path is the personal network designed to bring you closer to your friends and family.|
|Pocket, the leading way to save web content to view later on any device, brings text-to-speech article playback to Galaxy Gear.|
|RunKeeper is the personal trainer in your pocket, helping you track your runs, set your goals, and stay motivated.|
|TripIt from Concur makes it easy to organise travel plans in one place.|
|Vivino Wine Scanner allows you to take a photo of any wine and get to know all about it instantly.|
|ChatON: mobile communication service|
|Smart Relay, S Voice, Memographer, Voice Memo|
|Auto Lock, Find My Device, Media Controller, Pedometer, Stopwatch, Timer|
|Safety assistance: In case of emergency, press a power button 3 times continuously, and then user’s location information is transferred to the saved contacts with message.|
|2 Microphones (Noise Cancellation), 1 Speaker|
|Bluetooth® v 4.0 + BLE|
|4GB Internal memory + 512 MB (RAM)|
|36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm, 73.8g|
|Standard battery, Li-ion 315mAh|