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Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick-everybody-complain-before-trying-it dept.
MojoKid writes "The smartwatch race heated up today, as Samsung showed its Galaxy Gear smartwatch at the Samsung Unpacked event in Berlin. Samsung's take on such a device has been eagerly anticipated. Samsung announced the Galaxy Gear as a companion to the new Galaxy Note 3 (or any Galaxy device). The Gear lets users make and receive calls hands-free with the built-in speaker, and it notifies you of any incoming texts, emails, and alerts and gives you a preview of whatever is coming through. A Smart Relay feature will display the full content on your Galaxy device. The Galaxy Gear sports an 800MHz processor and 1.63-inch display (320x320) AMOLED display with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a speaker, and two microphones with noise cancellation. There's a 1.9MP camera with a BSI sensor and autofocus, and it connects via Bluetooth 4.0 + BLE. Sensors include an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Samsung plans to launch the smartwatch in October for $300."
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Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

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  • Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by supertrooper (2073218) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:15PM (#44760125)
    Smart or not 300$ is expensive. Considering that Google is selling Nexus 4 phone for 200$ I'm not gonna buy this thing. Yeah, the battery life is like 10hrs or so. Bluetooth drains the battery fairly quickly so you'll end up charging this thing fairly often. No thanks.
    • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:21PM (#44760185)

      I (finally) got my Pebble watch the other day. t's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good, and has a week long battery life. It can also be read outside, which adds a lot of value. Between the notifications, weather, and ability to run things on the phone using Task, etc, it's pretty damn good for ~150$.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        I (finally) got my Pebble watch the other day. t's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good, and has a week long battery life. It can also be read outside, which adds a lot of value. Between the notifications, weather, and ability to run things on the phone using Task, etc, it's pretty damn good for ~150$.

        To counter this big push into wrist computing Microsoft buys declining mobile phone maker Nokia - Well played, Mr. Ballmer!

        Honestly, I laughed out loud when the fellow from the Motley Fool said the acquisition was the biggest deal of 1999. About how I felt regarding the acquisition - about 14 years late and out of sync with what is going on in the markets right now.

      • by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @10:33PM (#44762785)

        What sort of watch only runs for 10 hours and when you glance at it doesn't show the time till you activate it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zenith1111 (1465261)

      I won't be ditching my Casio for that thing, but I reckon the battery life will be low because of the screen. Besides, the battery is not that large to begin with, if the user doesn't make calls the Bluetooth v4 connection won't drain the battery very much, see the "Bluetooth Smart" part: https://developer.bluetooth.org/TechnologyOverview/Pages/v4.aspx [bluetooth.org]

      Citizen has been selling Bluetooth 4 enabled watches for some time, their watches use the bluetooth connection the get the current time from the internet a c

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        I won't be ditching my Casio for that thing, but I reckon the battery life will be low because of the screen. Besides, the battery is not that large to begin with, if the user doesn't make calls the Bluetooth v4 connection won't drain the battery very much, see the "Bluetooth Smart" part: https://developer.bluetooth.org/TechnologyOverview/Pages/v4.aspx [bluetooth.org]

        Citizen has been selling Bluetooth 4 enabled watches for some time, their watches use the bluetooth connection the get the current time from the internet a couple of times a day and run from a tiny solar cell: http://www.citizenwatch.com/en-ir/2012/10/12/citizen-eco-drive-unveils-proximity/ [citizenwatch.com]

        A timepiece that tells time? That's crazy talk!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cheater512 (783349)

        Remember it is a OLED screen so it uses zero power to display black.
        I saw an awful lot of black in it's UI.

      • if the user doesn't make calls the Bluetooth v4 connection won't drain the battery very much

        But they're marketing the ability to make calls as a major feature. Buyers will expect that. And early adopters willing to shell out $300 will probably tend to be heavy users. If this watch can't handle 14-18 hours of solid use, I have to think it's dead in the water.

        My Galaxy phone doesn't have great battery life, but for $5 I can buy extra batteries and swap them out. Making this watch's battery situation much worse is the fact that you can't charge them directly from ubiquitous microUSB cables. You

      • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

        by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:53PM (#44761113) Journal

        Citizen has been selling Bluetooth 4

        For those that don't know, Bluetooth 4 has the low energy profile which is the sort of thing which will happily run off a coin cell for a year or two.

        For some reason Android has terrible support for it despite Linux having supported it since it came out, and having a specified driver model. There's no excuse really.

    • by WarJolt (990309)

      Especially since it will likely be supplementary to a standard smart phone. I still need my large screen to browse the internet. I want a smart watch with an unfolding screen. Unfortunately a watch is difficult to use with thumbs, si it also needs to be detachable.

    • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by michelcolman (1208008) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:34PM (#44760351)

      A watch that works for 10 hours?! So you take it off the charger when you get up in the morning at 6am, and it stops working at 4 pm? Or you have to take it off during lunch break so it can recharge?

      So basically, you can look at your watch to check your messages, but you end up having to dig your phone out of your pocket to see what time it is because the watch battery went dead? Something tells me they didn't think this through.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Smart or not 300$ is expensive. Considering that Google is selling Nexus 4 phone for 200$ I'm not gonna buy this thing. Yeah, the battery life is like 10hrs or so. Bluetooth drains the battery fairly quickly so you'll end up charging this thing fairly often. No thanks.

      What time is it?

    • by geogob (569250)

      For the watch market, 300$ is actually pretty cheap. Should we expect lower prices because this watch does more/others things and/or things differently?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        For the watch market, 300$ is actually pretty cheap. Should we expect lower prices because this watch does more/others things and/or things differently?

        The last watch I bought in Europe cost ~$900. It costs $70 alone for a battery replacement and cleaning, every two years.

        • by Servaas (1050156)

          Being hip doesnt come cheap!

          • by ackthpt (218170)

            Being hip doesnt come cheap!

            $900 for a Swiss watch is cheap, even when I bought it that was cheap.

            • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

              by c_jonescc (528041) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:59PM (#44760627)
              $900 for a Swiss Quartz watch is not cheap. It's a very good price for a mechanical, though even a good mechanical from a less luxury brand is closer to $600 often.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And a $10 timex will do the same thing. Like the other douches buying $900, you did just to prove how douchy you are on the douche scale.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            I don't wear much jewelry (just my wedding ring), but I can appreciate some bling. You don't really need a $600 toy computer in your pocket, either, but if it makes you happy then why not?

            • by exomondo (1725132)
              Agreed, if you avoided everything but what you absolutely needed to survive you would have a pretty damn boring life, actually you wouldn't really be living so much as just existing.
          • by Omestes (471991)

            I don't know, I've seen some watches I'd cough up a $900 for, or more, if (big if, there) I had a couple extra grand to toss around. I don't, so... If you have the money, there is nothing wrong with spending it. I've bought some things that people with less money would think wasteful. If your living above sustenance level, you probably have too.

            Also, there is something beautiful and awesome about a fine mechanical watch... Its pre-digital, pre-analogue, nerdy. One of my relatives got a "class-A" knock

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        $300 is cheap for a fashion watch, probably made out of precious metals or some exotic material. This thing doesn't look like it's going to displace any dress watches. It looks more like the modern incarnation of the calculator watch.

    • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Monoman (8745) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:51PM (#44760539) Homepage

      Exactly. This thing need Power over Bluetooth so it can charge wirelessly while connected for data. ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:07PM (#44760681)

      Let's see ...
      - cost too much for what it does.
      - early release just to get to market.
      - no apps available at launch.
      - needs to use your phone in order to communicate with the rest of the world.

      Are we talking about a Samsung Galaxy Gear or a Blackberry Playbook?

    • by msobkow (48369)

      I think it's more important that it's not a standalone device, but an accessory for an existing one.

      What's the point of a super-portable "smart watch" if you still need to carry around your phone, or worse, a bulky tablet?

  • So who else remembers the uber cool Casio smart watches of the 80s? (Contacts in your Watch! Cool!) And how long they were actually cool for...
    • So who else remembers the uber cool Casio smart watches of the 80s?

      I certainly remember them, but "uber cool" would not be a term I would have used to describe them then, nor now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not as cool as the 1977 HP-01 calculator watch. Red LED display! Stylus to press the buttons! Ultimate nerd cool, and gorgeous. Still drawing multi-$k prices on ebay. Somehow I doubt you'll be able to give Samsung's device away 36 years from now.

    • Not as cool as Kronoforms, those transformer watches!

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Nowhere near as cool as the 15 Swatches I wore on both arms every day!

    • And how long they were actually cool for...

      5 days, IIRC.

  • really don't see why anyone would get this.

    Expensive for needing a main device as a companion - making hands free calls is not a good enough reason for a $300 device, and the other items "alerts you of incoming texts/emails/etc" is a bit so what - if you have to pair this to a phone, having it near enough will mean that you'd get notified of this anyway.

    I think it needed either a cool factor (flexible/wearable), or to be very useful (standalone device that could replace a phone).

    • Re:not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrHanky (141717) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:25PM (#44760247) Homepage Journal

      Like they said, it's a fashion accessory. Did you see the presenter at the event, with those hideous white glasses? Fashion. So they made a giant, cumbersome watch with insultingly poor battery life and some crazy advanced technology that they couldn't find any practical use for. Fashion. You wouldn't understand. Neither do I.

    • Can the hands free operation use bluetooth headphones? Or can it ONLY use the microphone on the watch?

      Since definitive specs don't seem to be around, including samsung.com, it's hard to know.

      The Qualcom Toq has it right on their front page.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:18PM (#44760161)
    Samsung should have contemplated this longer before shoving it out the door. Deliver useful things a smartphone can't and nothing more then you'll have better battery life and something stylish instead of that bulky thing.
    • by GrBear (63712)

      It doesn't even have better battery life. The battery life is one day.

      • No, it doesn't even make it through a day, not by a long shot. I guess you need to buy two if you want to be able to know what time it is from morning till evening without taking your cell phone out of your pocket.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Yup. The Sony Smartwatch is actually pretty dumb - it basically acts as a secondary touchscreen and vibration notifier for your phone.

      As a result it requires a very low-power CPU (I think it may be an AVR...) and gets decent battery life. (Not as good as the greyscale-LCD-only smartwatches like MetaWatch though.)

      It's also cheaper, I don't know where the SW2 is going to wind up, but the original SmartWatch runs for around $100.

    • Samsung should have contemplated this longer before shoving it out the door.

      It seems pretty likely their primary goal was to get this out there ahead of Apple's September 10th event.

  • by puto (533470) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:21PM (#44760195) Homepage
    Hell yeah, Escape from New York all the way! While a bit pricey I would not mind 1. Where I work we have to keep our phones in our desk or in our pockets, and it would be a great boon to me to see messages and who had called with a look at my wrist. Plus, I dont have to fish my phone out my pocket to see who calls. Or leave it on the bar in front of me. But the best use for me is that when I am in South America and my cell rings, I can see who it is, without alerting local crooks I have a smartphone.
    • by michelcolman (1208008) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:27PM (#44760281)

      Actually, you'll be alerting local crooks you have a smartphone AND a $300 smartwatch. And best of all, they can see it all the time because the thing is on your wrist, visible to everyone, instead of in your pocket most of the time.

      • by puto (533470)
        Actually, when I am Bogota I generally have a coat/ and or long sleeves because it is generally chilly, and I know when and and when not to make it know I have anything of value on me. But since I am Colombian I do not generally get taken as being an "easy touch". Smart phones spend the majority of the time in peoples hands, even when they are not talking on them.
    • by DramaGeek (806258)

      Get a Pebble. Half the price, and does all the things you just mentioned, plus more.
      Black & White ePaper screen, but that means it stays on all the time and the battery lasts a week. Easily readable in sunlight, too.
      No speaker or microphone on it, but unless you plan on talking into your watch, I don't see a problem :)

    • by lxs (131946)

      As long as you're taking inspiration from early '80s fiction, why limit yourself to a watch with only one wristband? [byyourcommand.net]

  • Fire Sale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:23PM (#44760227) Journal
    Cant wait until this thing tanks and I can pick one up for cheap. This thing was made as a hedge in case anyone else came out with a watch, at least Samsung would be poised to compete. I believe wearable computers are in our future, just not in this very obvious form. Give me something that looks like a real watch, with DAYS of battery, and useful functions that dont require a larger device to run it all the time.
    • This thing isn't designed to compete.

      It's designed to be first. Hence all the very odd design decisions.

      • by GodInHell (258915)
        (a) it's not first. (Google: Pebble)
        (b) at $300.00, it's barely present on the watch market - that's fossil and sears store run-off watch territory
        (c) sooner or later you have to stake out a position on what the fucking thing should look like - at least apple can't claim they stole the look and feel this time ... maybe ... oh, crap, who am I kidding - of course they will.
        • First relative to the iWatch. If Apple brings it out.

          Look & feel, from 2010. Add bluetooth, camera, a couple of updated apps, and you have the Gear.

          https://www.google.com/search?q=ipod+nano+watch [google.com]

          • First relative to the iWatch. If Apple brings it out.

            That would still be the Pebble, which is a lot closer to what an iWatch would be than the thing Samsung made.

            • I won't argue that, but we'll see.

              I'm still laughing at the very real possibility that Apple says smart watches are very stupid next week.

              • I'm still laughing at the very real possibility that Apple says smart watches are very stupid next week.

                I kind of agree, I always though an iWatch was an odd idea with a limited market, and like you say there's a pretty good chance Apple floated the rumor just to disrupt competitors!

  • ugly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:26PM (#44760261)

    Its quite ugly not to mention far too bulky.
    I'm not sure what benefit having this could provide anyway.
    Can anyone provide a credible use-case?

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Its quite ugly not to mention far too bulky.
      I'm not sure what benefit having this could provide anyway.
      Can anyone provide a credible use-case?

      The main user case would be getting brief information of all sorts faster and with less effort. Who sent that message that your phone just announced you got? What's the score in the game your live score app is following? Roughly how many calories have you burned today by moving about? When does your next calendar event start?

      It's not going to be worth it if it's ugly and bulky and burns through the battery every day... Watch out (no pun intended) for Apple's smart watch which is likely to be smaller, pretti

    • by GodInHell (258915)
      (1) I am in Court and want to know what new mail I've received without getting whacked by the bailiff for taking out my phone.
      (2) I am on my bike and my cell phone is in my bag, I want to know what the address of my next meeting is - watch provides.
      (3) I am at dinner and want to look at the score on the game / text message I just received / e-mail, but do not want to be rude to the other folks at the table by taking out my phone.
      (4) I am walking around and my pocket buzzes, I glance at watch to see who's
      • (1) I am in Court and want to know what new mail I've received without getting whacked by the bailiff for taking out my phone.

        And he will not whack you for holding a camera-watch up in the air why exactly?

        I am on my bike and my cell phone is in my bag

        Well that's a waste [amazon.com]

        I am at dinner and want to look at the score on the game / text message I just received / e-mail, but do not want to be rude to the other folks at the table by taking out my phone.

        It's not rude at all to be constantly glancing at your watch!

  • on my new 1.63-inch screen! This is almost as exciting as my first Casio calculator watch.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      on my new 1.63-inch screen! This is almost as exciting as my first Casio calculator watch.

      Welcome to Eye-Strain Theatre - do they include a magnifying glass with that thing?

  • I've already replaced the glass on my G S4 and was astounded to see how it is half (or less) the thickness of the glass for the iPhone 4S. My Swiss watch, which I seldom wear now was always making contact with things, hard and scratchy things, which left the crystal scarred and no small amount of damage to the bezel. Which is why I don't wear it much anymore. Hope that thing is at least as thick as the watch and much thicker than the G S4 glass.

  • You don't need to be an Apple fan to say that when Apple comes out with theirs, it'll look a heck of a lot nicer.

  • by quacking duck (607555) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:40PM (#44760419)

    A Dick Tracy / Michael Knight comm-watch, or a Star Trek comm-badge, plays well on screen. In real life speakerphones in public means zero privacy, sound quality and loudness are such that you can't hear it well in public unless it's right up to your ear, or it's so loud and clear it disturbs everyone within arm's length.

    And of course, a lot of people text more than they talk now--also something this watch can't do.

    Sure you could whip out the parent device in public to work around this, but that undercuts a big reason for having this watch in the first place.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I can't WAIT until everyone has speakerphones in public. The comedic potential is unlimited.

  • Wristband phone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:47PM (#44760497) Homepage

    This is just round one. Samsung also has a flexible display technology, and a patent application for a phone with a flexible display that wraps around the wearer's wrist. That has a lot more promise.

    A wristband phone can offer much more vertical space. than a watch-like clunker. Wristbands can be wide or narrow, and can be made to look like jewelry. Twisting your wrist can control scrolling. Much more convenient than carrying a brick in your hand, and doesn't look so dweebish.

    This could be the beginning of the end for round-cornered brick smartphones.

  • I wonder what kind of battery and charging frequency is needed for this kind of device.

  • I know the space they have to jam the electronics into is really tight but I really don't want a zippo lighter strapped to my wrist. I'm sure these things will slim down over time.

  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:55PM (#44760583)

    I doubt it's as water resistant as people have come to expect even from jewellery-type watches. Same goes for impact and scratch resistance. Watches get abused a bit more than a phone as they are out in the open all the time. If you spend $300 on a watch you usually get a sapphire crystal so you don't ever get any scratches. All of this will add up to people complaining about quality and durability.

  • For something that could be attached to my wrist most of the time i would expect that it would check me (i.e. pulse, blood pressure, temperature, etc). And of course, have longer battery life. Qualcomm's Toq smartwatch [engadget.com] have at least better battery life and can be read at sunlight, or something with more sensors like Whithing's Pulse [withings.com] (that is not a smartwatch, yet).

    Anyway, it could be a hint for things to come, more devices that uses the computer power of our phones (or at least, devices that we carry with

  • Somehow getting overloaded with gadgets?
    Glasses, watches, wearables, I-somethings, A-somethings, G-somethings, N's, S's etc...
    Could there be something else, a more simpler reality perhaps?
  • I love that my watch can tell me that it's sunny outside! Yay for technology!
  • by gnatman64 (688246) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:51PM (#44761099) Homepage
    I almost got a pebble, but I wanted an android based watch, and then I saw the Omate, but decided to wait and see what a big company like Samsung could do. I was actually really excited to get the Samsung watch, but now having seen it, at that price, I'd rather just get the Omate for $100 cheaper by backing their kickstarter. I know, kickstarters hardly ever live up to their promises, but the demo videos of the Omate look like exactly what I'm looking for.
  • Everyone seems to be bashing this product because they don't see any usefulness. That used to be the old paradigm. Now you just do stuff with a lot of features and possibilities and leave it up to the app creators to come up with something useful. My iPhone today does stuff I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams (fart apps included). Only time will tell what this will do for you.
  • Disappointing... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mspohr (589790) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @06:22PM (#44761335)

    I've been waiting for this because I wanted a phone that was easy to carry (like a watch, duh). I have been following the Omate TrueSmart on Kickstarter:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/omate/omate-truesmart-water-resistant-standalone-smartwa [kickstarter.com]
    Now that Samsung has released more information, I'm very disappointed. It's not a stand alone phone, it requires the latest Samsung phone to be paired all of the time. It's crippled Android. (Not very attractive, either, compared to the Omate). The Omate is waterproof and is a fully functioning phone with better specs... and it's only $200.
    I guess Samsung was just looking to create a fancy "accessory" for their phone without much functionality.

  • which makes you look like a bigger tool: holding your over-sized phone up to your ear, or holding your watch up to your ear?

    (I'll stick with my 3.3"-screen smartphone, thank you.)

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