by Anton Shilov
09/04/2013 | 11:07 PM
Samsung Electronics on Wednesday introduced the Galaxy Gear, a companion device that further integrates the Samsung Galaxy experience into everyday life. Samsung Galaxy Gear combines smart device connectivity, tailored technological features, and stylish design as a single premium accessory.
“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. 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,” said JK Shin, chief executive officer and president of IT and mobile division at Samsung Electronics.
Technology-wise, Samsung Galaxy Gear seems to be very simple. The device is based on a custom 800MHz application processor and is equipped with 1.63” Super AMOLED display with 320*320 resolution. The product features Bluetooth 4.0+BLE, accelerometer, gyroscope, 4GB internal memory, 512MB RAM as well as Li-ion 315mAh battery. At present Galaxy Gear is only compatible with Google Android 4.3-based smartphones and tablets.
Nonetheless, pretty simplistic technology by today’s standards provides a number of advanced capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy Gear lets users to live in the moment while staying connected to their Samsung Galaxy devices. It notifies users of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages and to accept or discreetly ignore those messages. When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, users can simply pick up their Samsung Galaxy devices and the Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full content on the screen. With Samsung Galaxy Gear, users can also control the music played on their Samsung Galaxy devices. As with traditional music players, it helps users browse, play and pause songs even when their smart device is not within reach. Finally, the Galaxy Gear also works like a Pedometer to track physical activity via enhanced, built-in sensor technology.
The built-in speaker allows users to conduct hands-free calls directly from the Gear, maintaining connections to their mobile communications without disrupting their daily routines. Users can also draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather on the Galaxy Gear with S Voice. The device also features 1.9MP camera to shoot photos and videos.
New security enhancement Auto Lock automatically secures the companion smartphone screen any time that Galaxy Gear is more than 1.5 meters away from the smartphone, and then unlocks the smartphone when the companion devices are near each other again. Find My Device helps users find the location of their smart devices when they have been misplaced by making them beep, illuminate and vibrate. This feature systematically and automatically monitors users so they can track key personal data such as calories burned, steps taken and distance covered.
Samsung Galaxy Gear features refined design, executed in high-quality finishes, conjures images of luxury jewelry while still being understated enough to go well with any outfit. A rounded and simple flowing form wraps around the body, integrating with the user’s personal environment, and maintaining comfort at all times. The Galaxy Gear also serves as a wristwatch and includes several face options that create the opportunity for users to personalize their watch face. It will come preloaded with 10 different clock options and more choices will be downloadable via Samsung Apps. The Galaxy Gear experience can be further personalized by selecting from six colors that will be available at launch: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green.
Samsung Galaxy Gear will be launched in more than 140 countries around the world starting from September 25. The price will be around $299 in the U.S.
While Galaxy Gear’s capabilities look rather impressive, many of them, e.g. voice calling or camera, will barely be used. Moreover, without support from major Google Android software developers, capabilities of the device remain to be pretty limited. Finally, at present the gadget is only compatible with Samsung’s own devices.
While smartwatches are expected to make a splash in 2013 – 2014, the Galaxy Gear in its current form looks more like a proof-of-concept, not a final commercial device that is supposed to be aimed at the masses.