Samsung Announces Galaxy Gear, Apple iWatch Next Week

gearAs expected, Samsung has announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch at the IFA conference in Berlin. Danny Sullivan live-blogged the event, which also saw a number of other announcements, including the Galaxy Note 3 and a new 10-inch Galaxy tablet.

Earlier today Sony introduced its new and improved smartwatch at IFA.

The new Samsung smartwatch comes with a camera (+ video) and a speaker. The camera is 1.9 megapixels. I’m sure the quality will improve over time.

Gear can be used as a phone, but it’s not a phone. It relies on a bluetooth connection to a Samsung smartphone:

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. For example,  a user leaving the grocery store, whose hands are full with shopping bags,  could still make a call by speaking into the GALAXY Gear without touching the screen. Users can also draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather on the GALAXY Gear with S Voice.

There are a variety of apps that come with the device, and Samsung promises more. It also comes in a range of colors. Below are the specs:

Galaxy Gear specs

Samsung described Gear as a “design statement” and an “engineering marvel.” It also integrates with the newly announced Galaxy Note 3 “phablet.” Without having had a chance to handle or fondle the Gear watch, my first impressions are based on the livestream and third-party reviews (e.g., The Verge).

It’s more complete and technically advanced than other smartwatches currently available, but there’s also something clunky and unsophisticated about the design and UI. Gear will also cost $299, which may be expensive for many people.

Apple is also expected to announce an “iWatch” next week at its September 10 event that will use apps and probably sync with the iPhone. And Google is reportedly developing its own Android-based smartwatch, according to the revelation that the company had recently acquired WIMM labs, builder of smartwatches.

Is there public demand for smartwatches? Yes, there appears to be meaningful demand, especially among people under 50, according to a poll I conducted, the results of which are not yet public. Demand for Google Glass is narrower and concentrated among those under 40 (mostly under 30).

There’s also a strong indication that people would buy smartwatches tied to their current brand of mobile phone, which means that Apple and Samsung stand to benefit most. Google could also develop a competitive position in the market.

Mobile polling app Polar found that people are more interested in smartwatches being tied into fitness than they are interested in a camera on the device. In addition they would also like the phone itself to be WiFi equipped vs. having to rely upon a mobile-phone connection.

Regardless, with health-monitoring wristbands, Google Glass, a soon-to-be-competitive smartwatch market and potentially other devices on the way, we’re clearly entering an era of “wearables.”

(Image credit: Samsung/Wall Street Journal)

Related Topics: Apple | Apple: iOS | Channel: Mobile Marketing | Google | Google: Android | Google: Mobile | Google: Nexus | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Rosendo A. Cuyasen

    This is another device that you can use to be effective in making your appointments and activities. Cool!

  • Saqib Sherazi

    Samsung beat Apple to the punch with the smart watches. With smart watches, other people will always be able to see it unlike smart phones which would usually be in a persons pocket when not in use. With the syncing capabilities of the smart watches, answering calls while riding bikes or even playing sports would be a breeze. I am really excited about these watches but may wait to see what other people say.

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