Samsung has just taken the wraps off their first foray into the modern wearable computing market, officially announcing the Galaxy Gear.
The Gear is actually designed to act more as a smart remote to your Galaxy device, in fact it will only work with the Note 3 and the new Galaxy Note 10.1 as well as the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II after they receive firmware updates some time in October. Using Bluetooth 4.0(LE) the watch connects to your phone or tablet and will then allow you to do more interesting things like take calls via the microphone built-in to the clasp of the band.
Like previous smartwatches before it, the Galaxy Gear will show incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts on the screen where you can accept or discreetly ignore those messages but if the preview you receive on the 1.63″ screen isn’t enough, of course all you have to do is pick up your phone to see the full message.
The Galaxy Gear has S Voice integration built right in to the device so you can ‘compose messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather’ or even make a call, just by talking to the watch.
The 1.9MP camera on the wristband of the Gear integrates with a Memographer function which lets you record video, which you can store or share on social media as well as allowing you to record the video as text on your Galaxy device.
There’s various security functions built into the Gear, first and foremost it acts as a proximity sensor auto-locking your phone screen when the Gear goes more than 1.5 metres away from it, but it also unlocks the phone when it comes back into range. Secondly there is a Find My Device function which can make your Smart device beep and light up the screen from a companion app so you can locate it when you misplace it.
The Touchscreen also allows you to run apps on your device in addition to controlling music on your smartphone you will be able to run a whole range of apps. Samsung has listed some apps which will launch with full Galaxy Gear compatability but they advise more will be coming on-board down the track :
Third Party Apps :
- 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 organize 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.
Samsung has also pre-loaded a heap of their own apps onto the watch, but the feeling is that these could be added to down the track as more functionality is added to the device :
Samsung Apps :
- Auto Lock
- Smart Relay
- ChatON: mobile communication service
- S Voice
- Voice Memo
- Find My Device
- Media Controller
The Galaxy Gear also acts as a health monitor, because those people who want to use a Fitbit or Jawbone can now use their Galaxy Gear as a Pedometer.
Finally, the Galaxy Gear is obviously a watch, the Galaxy Gear will come preloaded with 10 different clocks and the ability to download more through the Samsung App Store is also an option. I imagine there will be a lot of customisation going on with this end of the deal.
- 1.63 inch (41.4mm) Super AMOLED (320 x 320)
- 800 MHz processor
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Internal memory
- 1.9 Megapixel BSI Sensor, Auto Focus Camera / Sound & Shot
- 2 Microphones (Noise Cancellation), 1 Speaker
- 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.
- Bluetooth® v 4.0 ＋ BLE
- 36.8×56.6×11.1 mm @ 73.8grams
- Li-ion 315mAh
Finally, the Galaxy Gear will be available in 140 countries around the world starting from September 25th, it will launch in six colours – Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green. Rumoured pricing in the US is looking like US$299 so around the AUD$350 mark would not be unexpected. We’ve asked Samsung Australia for comment on pricing and availability and will advise when they respond.