Sep 1st, 2013

This holiday season, we’re likely to see a resurgence of the smartwatch: Sony is launching a redesign of their Android-based Sony SmartWatch, Apple is rumored to be launching the iWatch, and Samsung is set to start offering the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Now, for the first time, we’re seeing exactly what the latter of those might look like- here is the Samsung Galaxy Gear:


The pictures come from VentureBeat, who were able to get hands-on time with the upcoming Android smartwatch. Among the most interesting tidbits they unearthed:

  • Square 3-inch screen
  • 4MP camera in the wristband
  • Speakers in the clasp
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity (connects to your phone with Bluetooth)
  • Uses voice commands
  • Preloaded with Android Apps designed specifically for Galaxy Gear
  • 10+ hours of battery life

I’d like to make a few key observations. Two, actually.

If we’re seeing the final design for the Samsung Galaxy Gear, above, it won’t be too popular. It looks clunky and bulky. The masculinity effectively cuts their potential market in half and for the other half of the market – men – this thing doesn’t exactly look sleek and professional. Assuming the Apple iWatch does indeed exist, I can imagine it’s design and style will blow this out of the water.


I don’t think the timing is right for smartwatches. Historically, Apple has had perfect timing when unleashing new product categories. Some would argue that they single handedly create new product categories by signaling to consumers “it’s time” with their launch cycle. But it seems those days may be over, and I’m not sure the timing is right for smartwatches and wearable tech in general (like Google Glass).

One key reason for this is the size of technology and it’s limitations on battery life. If the Galaxy Gear only lasts the 10 hours initially suggested, then that’s not a full day. Why would someone wear a watch if, by the end of the day, it won’t even tell them the time? The Galaxy Gear initially appears to be the worst of both worlds: bulky/clunky but still lacking the battery life to last a full day.

It’s possible that Samsung isn’t targeting the mass market: maybe they’re going after the fitness consumer to compete with Nike’s line of watches. Maybe they’ve got something else up their sleeve. I’ll reserve final judgement until Samsung makes an official announcement and we’ve got time to test the Galaxy Gear out for ourselves, but at first look, I’m skeptical.

Is this what you expected from the Samsung Galaxy Gear? Do you like the look? Would you consider buying one if the prices was right?

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