Sep 5th, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear 1

The October release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear is fast approaching and for those of you who weren’t turned-off by its love-it-or-hate-it design (I think it looks rather snazzy), you might be wondering exactly how “smart” the Galaxy Gear will be when it’s finally released. Because the Galaxy Gear isn’t your typical Android device, it will require developers to create apps specifically for its tiny 1.6-inch display for installation outside of Google Play.

At $300, the Galaxy Gear isn’t exactly affordable, but so far, the response from developers is fair. Samsung is promising over 70 custom made apps will be available for the wearable and while the vast majority of these apps weren’t specifically named, 12 of them were made official. Let’s have a look at the current running list.

  • Atooma – An app that provides an IFTTT like service (if this then that), for automating the device according to different variables. Things like time of day, or location can trigger specific actions.
  • Banjo – A social location-based app, Banjo will alert you when friends are nearby and provide a live stream of pictures taken by friends at a specific event.
  • eBay – The eBay app will help you keep tabs on auctions, providing alerts on bids and ensuring you’re always kept up-to-date on all of your eBay activity.
  • Evernote – Other than an announcement that an Evernote app was in the works, not much else is known. We’re sure it’ll behave much like the Google Glass version of the app, allowing you to quickly save voice notes, snapshots, and providing you with reminders.
  • Glympse – A fitness app that can locate friends via GPS, tracking workout routines much like a Nike Fuel band.
  • Line – Currently the only real messaging client for the Galaxy Gear, Line lets you quickly send instant messages to friends (and even add stickers). It will probably be easier to whip out your phone for instant messaging, but at least it’s an option.
  • MyFitnessPal – Less workout tracking and more of a calorie counter, MyFitnessPal helps you keep track of your diet, while also detecting how active you’ve been during the day.
  • Path – Billed as a “private social network,” Path functions much like Facebook or Google+ with users posting status updates and photos. The Gear app will make this process a little bit easier for all 5 friends on Path.
  • Pocket – Once known as ReadItLater, Pocket is a service that saves interesting articles from around the web. While you wont be doing much web browsing from the Galaxy Gear, the Pocket app will read aloud saved articles making it easy to stay up to date on everything you saved from the internets.
  • RunKeeper – An app for tracking runs, you can record distance, time, and pace, directly from your wrist.
  • TripIt – Like Google Now, TripIt keeps you notified of flights changes, delays, and general takeoff times.
  • Vivino Wine Scanner – Simple app for taking a snapshot of a wine bottle, and immediately identifying it, pulling up a variety of information before you buy.

Samsung galaxy gear on wrist

Like any other device, the Galaxy Gear will need to prove its usefulness for consumers. Keep in mind that while only 12 apps are available right now (and possibly at launch), it’s still off to a better start than competition like the Pebble smartwatch. It’ll be interesting to see how developers take to a new platform, shoehorning robust apps and dumbing them down for the small screen. Like fellow wearable Google Glass, the Galaxy Gear definitely has a lot of potential, but as so often is the case, it’s developer support that will ultimately decide the device’s fate.


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