real-time news and commentary for investors
Wednesday, Sep 4
Samsung launches $299 Gear smartwatch
- Samsung's (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) anticipated Galaxy Gear has a 1.63" AMOLED display with a 320x320 resolution, an 800MHz. CPU, a 1.9MP camera (supports video recording), a speaker, and two microphones. Also included: a pedometer, a low-power Bluetooth radio for taking calls and otherwise communicating with a paired smartphone, and 4GB of storage. (live blog)
- Many of these details were leaked in previous reports.
- 70 apps are initially supported, including some from well-known developers such as Pocket and Evernote. Samsung fitness/health apps are included, as is the company's Samsung's S Voice voice-recognition platform. Samsung promises a day of battery life under normal use (is that enough?).
- The Verge calls the Gear "a smartwatch like no other," but is critical of "the speed and intuitiveness of the user interface," as well as the device's speaker (not loud enough) and price. Engadget: "As we've come to expect with many first-generation devices, the Gear has quite a few shortcomings, some of which likely have yet to come to light."
- Aside from the aforementioned issues, Samsung has to contend with a growing preference among younger consumers to forgo wearing watches in favor of using their phones to check the time. On the other hand, Samsung and rivals might be able to credibly argue smartwatches offer a faster/more convenient way to take pictures, pull up e-mails, check sports scores, and carry out other basic tasks.
- The Gear goes on sale in the U.S. in early October. For now, it only works with devices running Android 4.3.