Samsung has formally unveiled its Galaxy Gear smartwatch as part of its IFA 2013 product showcase, as expected. The Android 4.3-based wearable device has been subject to various leaks over the past several weeks, but now it has been confirmed in an official capacity.
The Galaxy Gear itself sports a 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a 320×320 resolution. It comes with a 1.9-megapixel camera mounted to its strap, which can be used to snap photos and take quick 720p videos that can then be shared on social media. It’s powered by an 800MHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM, and it comes with 4GB of storage, a 315mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0 support, built-in dual microphones, a speaker, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a pedometer. Samsung claims you’ll get “more than a day” of battery life on a single charge.
Of course, the Galaxy Gear can tell time like a standard watch, but its key feature is its ability to wirelessly hook up to your smart device through Bluetooth and work as a companion device. Like other smartwatches, the Galaxy Gear displays notifications for calls, texts, emails and the like right on its display, and it allows you to make hands-free calls from the watch using its speaker and microphones. Fitness tracking sensors are built in to keep tabs on burned calories, distance traveled and steps taken too.
As far as other software features are concerned, Samsung says that the Galaxy Gear can be used to find any misplaced device that it’s hooked up to by remotely making it beep and ring. It can remotely control music being played from your companion device, and it’ll automatically lock the second device’s screen whenever it’s 1.5 meters away from it. This will all be bolstered by the more than 70 third-party app partners who will be supporting Galaxy Gear at launch, including Evernote, eBay, Path, TripIt, MyFitnessPal and more.
Here’s the kicker, though: All of those features will only work with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet at launch. Samsung says that the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II will gain compatibility when they’re updated to Android 4.3 in the future, but you may be out of luck if you’re not willing to jump into Samsung’s ecosystem of devices. If you are, though, you’ll be able to pick up a Galaxy Gear this month globally, and next month in the US. It’ll cost $300, and it’ll be available in six colors (black, gray, orange, beige, gold and green) to start.
TechnologyGuide spent some time with the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch at the unveiling in New York, and had some thoughts as to whether nor not the Galaxy Gear is actually a smartwatch at all.