Samsung’s anticipated smartwatch is finally out. Some 100 countries will be able to receive the smartwatch in shelves by September 25th but in Africa we could expect it around two to four weeks later. As expected, the smartwatch is not a stand alone device but has been made a companion of the Galaxy Note III and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, both availed at the Samsung unpacked event in Berlin.
Being a companion device the Galaxy Gear will be able to communicate to your Galaxy smartphone via low energy blue tooth available in Android 4.3 and above. This confirms that Galaxy Note III and Note 10.1 both run on Android 4.3. Samsung also indicated that Galaxy S4 and S3 will be able to be synchronized with the Galaxy Gear by October so users of these two top range phones can anticipate OS upgrade to Android 4.3 by then.
When connected to the smartphone, the Galaxy Gear will be able to notify wearer of what is happening with their smartphone which is hidden either in bags or pockets. Notifications for calls, text messages, emails, weather and reminders will be done by the watch. A preview of emails and text messages will also be shown with users being able to either accept them or ignore such. The Gear will also be able to run some 70 apps including the Evernote. The device enables multitasking where users can be able to run separate instances of the same application and use S Pen to drag and drop content from one window to another. It has a pen Window that enables one to simply draw a window of any size on the screen and allows access to a few features such as YouTube or calculator.
Samsung said that Galaxy Gear improves upon the previous smartwatches like Pebble, Sony, Metawatch, and Microsoft SPOT. It has 1.9 megapixel camera (we anticipated a 4 megapixel camera) at the strap, a 1.63″ OLED screen having 320 by 320 resolution, weighs about 70 grams, has an internal memory of 4Gb basically for saving photos taken by the watch and has 512 RAM. The watch is run by a Xynos processor of 800Hz which reviewers have faulted saying that the watch is quite sluggish when loading apps and transiting from one window to the next. For user-watch voice communication, the watch has a speaker and two microphones coming with S Voice pre-installed for sending S Voice commands to the smartphone.
On battery, reviewers were not able to bring the camera into action after a few hours due to low battery. It features a 315mAh battery that is supposed to power it for at least one day. If the smartwatch will be undesirable, it will probably be due to low battery life. Projections are that three to four Galaxy Gears will be sold for every Note III sold at an introductory price of $299 (roughly Kshs. 27,000). Some analysts think only the nitch buyers will go for the Samsung’s version of a smartwatch.
Galaxy Gear has improved hardware and applications usage but still does not have a compelling reason for being seriously considered as a smartwatch especially at a price range of $299. Its battery life is also a big issue as watch wearers are used to going for months before worrying about battery.