back to article Samsung stakes claim to smartwatch market with Galaxy Gear

Samsung has been showing off its entry into the smartwatch market, as well as a new Galaxy tablet and super-sized smartphone, ahead of the IFA 2013 consumer electronics show in Berlin. Samsung Galaxy Gear A Rolex it ain't "Samsung Galaxy Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their …

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  1. Greg J Preece

    $300 is too high, unless you're Apple and people expect it to be that high. I like the idea of a "smartwatch" (but not the name), and I wouldn't pay for one that expensive.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Yeah, it strikes me as about $200 too high. Then again there are probably a few people with more dollars than sense who will be ready, willing and able to drop $300 on an accessory to their $700 phone.

      Just one question, will the watch work with phones that are cheaper than it is?

      1. MrWibble
        Thumb Down

        "Just one question, will the watch work with phones that are cheaper than it is?"

        No - only Samsung stuff. And only Samsung stuff that's on Android 4.3.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          >"Just one question, will the watch work with phones that are cheaper than it is?"

          >No - only Samsung stuff. And only Samsung stuff that's on Android 4.3.

          The Samsung Note devices have had Bluetooth LE hardware before it was supported by Android.

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      How much!

      That much for a dated looking LCD watch that has limited functionality? Have to charge it everyday? Now that is practical easpecially considering my watch never needs a battery and never needs charging.

      I think that it's only use is to save you looking a fool holding a 7" screen phone to your ear shouting "Hello, HELLOOOOOO..."

      Those foolish enough to buy them wil find they end up in some bottom draw, forgotten.

    3. Mark .

      I agree, though it's still too high for Apple - they don't get a free pass. In particular, I think it's good for Samsung to make this move first - the media can't claim $300 is too high, and then turn around and ignore the issue when Apple release a $600 watch.

      And whilst it is too high for me (and there look to be cheaper alternatives already), I think it's worth noting that new technology always starts high. So sales won't be as high, but they'll be making profits off the early adopters. Later on, price will fall, sales will increase.

      (Hardly anyone bought the first iphone either, instead there was growth over the years, despite what the Apple history revisionists claim.)

      Another stumbling block for me is only working with some of the Galaxy phones. Whilst not a problem for Samsung (I expect an Apple watch will only work with iphones, a smaller market than the number of Galaxies out there), I'd like something that at least works with any Android phone. I hope the Google watch rumours turn out to be true - Google will likely make it work for all Android devices, and give us a price without trying to make a profit.

  2. A Dawson
    FAIL

    A whole DAY of battery life, I'd call that a dumb watch

    1. Vector

      To be fair, that's not bad considering how much room is available for the battery. The screen's smaller, the CPU not as fast but everything else is running at about the same clip on a much smaller tank.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Just what I wanted

    I use the clock on my phone to tell the time, but my new Nexus is too large to pull out of my pocket when I'm running for the bus.

    A remote desktop login for my phone which shows the lock screen with the time would be very useful mounted on my wrist.

    1. Thomas Whipp

      Re: Just what I wanted

      I honestly cant decide if that's a joke or not....

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Oatmeal Beige," and "Rose Gold"

      No champagne then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: "Oatmeal Beige," and "Rose Gold"

        You can't use the Champagne word! It's "Fizzy White Wine Color"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Oatmeal Beige," and "Rose Gold"

      They're trying to appeal to the women who's wrist it's too big to fit on ...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battery lasts a day?!

    When I was 8 or 9, so almost 40 years ago, my dad bought me one of the first quartz LED digital watches, the one with the chunky silver case/bracelet and red LEDs that only lit up when you pressed the button on the side as the battery would last 5 minutes if the display was on all the time.

    Sure, the battery life was rubbish, but it was fantastically high tech (for the time) and we all knew back then that digital watches (even if just the quartz mechanism) would be the future of timekeeping.

    So here we are, 40 years later, and we're going through the next phase of watch development, and just like last time, we're back to rubbish battery life which basically reduces these Smart Watches to novelty items.

    Are smart watches a revolution in timekeeping, or just a passing fad? Personally I can't see them being anything but the latter, although maybe, just maybe, in another 5 or 10 years with much better batteries and newer, better, display materials - not to mention, much classier designs that any normal person wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen wearing - it may be possible to conceive of having one of these on my wrist.

    But then again, probably not, I just don't see the point...

    1. Chairo
      Go

      Re: Battery lasts a day?!

      What's the problem? Just another device that needs to be put to the charger at the plugfest every evening.

      One or two company phones, private phone, tablet, and the missus might have one or another device, as well - one more watch hardly counts...

      Also proud owners of "automatic" watches, already know the pleasure of putting them in the rewinder. That didn't stop them from buying and wearing such watches.

      The question is rather, how is the usability? Given the size of the screen, I think we can safely forget about any on-screen keyboard text editing, book reading or similar. It might work well as a videophone and might show some tweets, mails or SMS, though. Kind of like an extended notification area.

      I am looking forward to reading El Reg's product review. Hopefully they can get their hands on one soon!

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Battery lasts a day?!

        The problem is, you may not want to have to take your watch off every night to charge it. Especially since one of the few useful things I can think of for a "smart watch" to do is monitor your sleep, i.e. how much you're tossing and turning, changes in your pulse rate, etc.

        Maybe the phone in your pocket can wirelessly charge the watch on your wrist, finally a killer app for wireless charging :)

        1. I like noodles

          Re: Battery lasts a day?!

          "of the few useful things I can think of for a "smart watch" to do is monitor your sleep, i.e. how much you're tossing"

          Oi! Most of us would rather keep that information to ourselves, thanks very much.

        2. Anonymous John

          Re: Battery lasts a day?!

          I'd be tossing and turning worrying about breaking a $299 watch by rolling onto it.

      2. Drakkenson
        Happy

        Re: Battery lasts a day?!

        @ automatic watches

        I've had a Seiko Kinetic Autorelay for close to ten years now, and I've never felt the need to "charge" it. It will continue to show time for two days if you leave it perfectly still, and it will keep time, but not move the hands, for two more years. When you move it after more than two days, the hands will move automatically to the correct hour. My model does not keep the day of month synchronised, but I hear that newer models do. These watches do cost as much as this new Samsung one, and you can find even more expensive models if you have cash to burn. All in all, I like mine very much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Battery lasts a day?!

          Apples and pears - your Seiko Kinetic hardly does 'the same' does it?

          1. Drakkenson

            Re: Battery lasts a day?!

            @ apples and pears

            True, but then I don't do facebook and whatnot, but I do want to see what time it is. Also, this was in response to the automatic watch recharging remark, trying to show that you do not need to actually do anything to recharge this watch...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery lasts a day?!

      In 1977 I was bought one of the first Casio LCD phones, stainless steel bracelet and case didn't have a light button but it still works today. When after 4 years I went back to a watch with hands I found I couldn't tell the time.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Battery lasts a day?!

      Oh dear I just wrote almost the same anecdote below. My first watch was an Ingersol.

    4. Anonyomous Jim
      Go

      Re: Battery lasts a day?!

      Pretty sure they said that about mobile phones back in the late 80's. As you say, make it out of some hi-tech material (that graphine is looking good) and a better battery life and you'll be wearing one in the next 5-10 years.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jaw Cracking Yawn

      Quote: "Anyway, most people permanently have their phones out, or on the table in front of them."

      I have worked for a few bosses (I had 9 line managers in 3 years in one of my previous job) which would throw a toddler style tantrum if you do that in a meeting. When el hefe is displaying in front of the subordinates you should sit, listen and demonstrate subordination ya know.

  7. poopypants

    Nope

    Short battery life.

    Won't work with the phone that I own.

    Costs too much for what it provides.

    Display almost certainly invisible in bright sunlight.

    In these modern ecologically aware times shouldn't we strive to use more environmentally friendly tech?

    Maybe someone could invent a timekeeping mechanism that worked mechanically.

    I know this is a bit fanciful, but some bright researcher might be able to find a way to store potential energy, and gradually release it to drive some sort of mechanical display that shows the time of day.

    There would have to be a way to recharge the potential energy, of course,

    Perhaps brisk repetitive movement would be suitably familiar.

    1. greensun

      Re: Nope

      On that note, well, not the last one but the previous one: How much energy does a wound watch spring store, compared to a watch battery ? I Googled a bit, with no luck.

  8. Jack Prichard

    More convenient

    A writs watch was more convenient than a pocket watch because it was easier to tell the time.

    A smart watch is more convenient than a smart phone because ... ?

    If you want a convenient way to tell the time, get a watch.

    1. Fibbles

      Indeed.

      Despite the large amount of down votes I will get for saying this (and have gotten in the past,) all this fawning over watches is just the reg readership showing its age.

  9. Joshua Murray

    I jumped on the Pebble bandwagon and have been wearing mine (on a NATO strap) for the past few weeks.

    The novelty is starting to wear off a little already, but when I take it off to wear one of my automatic watches, I do miss having notifications appear on my wrist. It's something you very quickly get used to.

    Anyway, the Gear is not for me. The Pebble is half the price, the battery lasts seven times as long and it works with iPhones or Android phones. Alright it doesn't take photos or have voice control, but it has similar core features.

    Meh.

    1. Champ

      As a Pebble user for the last six months, I'm completely converted to the concept of a smart watch. But the Gear feels like it's over-reaching what can be done with current technology. One of the great decisions by Pebble was to use a display which gives long battery life.

  10. GeekBoy3000

    So many choices...

    Hmmm, should I get one in "Rose Gold" Or "Don' t buy this Lemon"

  11. Andrew Jones 2

    Personally I think Samsung have missed the point completely.

    (except for Apple users) no-one will want to buy a watch that requires that they use a specific brand or model of phone.

    e-ink is clearly the way to go with smart watches, though I must say the qualcomm mirasol display looks pretty nice.

    My requirements for a smart watch are small -

    * waterproof (not just splash proof or water resistant)

    * visible in strong sunlight (though not necessarily direct sunlight)

    * able to work as a watch when it loses connectivity with the paired phone - because I don't have my smartphone within 10 metres of me 24/7

    * works with most / all Android phones and if you want to increase market share - iOS too.

  12. Rupert Stubbs

    One more thing to turn off in the cinema...

    Just sayin'.

  13. PaulR79

    Haahhahahahaha!

    This is what they've been working on in not-so-secret? A watch that has to be tethered to one of only three (currently) devices, lasts a day according to Samsung so probably half a day at best in practice and they want $299 for it. Good job there Samsung. At least it looks like your other products by being cheap, plastic and not going to win any design awards.

    1. Kevin Fairhurst

      Re: Haahhahahahaha!

      Give them *some* credit... they don't have the Apple prototypes to blatantly copy from any more!

  14. jof62

    The Timex of smart watches

  15. Richard Wharram

    wtfffff

    My F-91W battery has lasted 8 years so far. Only stopped wearing it cos the strap broke. The watch itself is still fine. Just replaced it with the model with the better backlight. 9 quid but I bet the battery on the old 91W is still going strong when the strap breaks on this bugger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wtfffff

      Self respect = zero? I'm not saying you need to spend £1000 to get a watch to tell the time but some people take it to the other extreme.

      1. Justin Stringfellow
        Mushroom

        Re: wtfffff

        You tosspot. What's the price of someones watch got to do with self respect?

        Anyway, the Casio F-91W is an icon! Classic design and extremely functional IMO. I own an automatic omega, and it's heavy, innaccurate and a liability. The Casio kicks it's backside in every single aspect apart from bling factor.

  16. mahasamatman

    .. is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet ..

    .. whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really don't see the point of these....

    ...so I predict they will be a great success

    To old these days to give a shit about shinytoys(TM)

    My watch keeps time

    My phone makes phone calls

    And my computers compute.

    Jack of all trades and all that.

  18. DrXym Silver badge

    So utterly pointless

    (Edit: yes I realise my anecdote is almost the same as AC's above - I guess the same thought occurred to us both)

    I was bought my first digital watch over 30 years ago as a kid. It was an Ingersol with a black face on it and it was really cool. You had to push the button to light up the LED display and the numbers appeared. Unfortunately the battery life was so awful that it died in a few days.

    Now here we are 30 years on and history is repeating all over again. A watch that needs a second hand to turn its display on to tell the time is not smart, it's dumb. A watch that needs charging every day or two is not smart, it's dumb.

    And in this case a watch that *only* works with an extremely limited number of phones / tablets from the same manufacturer is not smart, it's dumb.

    I really do not understand what purpose these watches serve in their current form. These watches need an always-on display and a battery life which lasts at least a week and preferably a whole month. If they used e-ink or mirasol for their displays, bluetooth 4.0 low power and constrained the functionality they offered to the core and offset CPU intensive stuff to a nearby phone they could probably achieve it too.

    1. greensun

      Re: So utterly pointless

      I have just started a Kickstarter project for a "Dumb Term Watch"

      ;-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was watching the Galaxy Gear because I was interested in buying one. But at the price of another phone with restricted compatibility and battery life that makes it unfit for purpose I'll pass.

  20. Tim99 Silver badge
    Stop

    Wrist watches - I've heard of them

    The watch that I am currently wearing is a Longines "Professional" purchased in 1942 by my father for £5 in Cairo (admittedly quite a lot of money back then). He bought it as being better than the standard RAF aircrew Observer's (Navigator/Bomb-Aimer) watch.

    So far in 71 years it has been cleaned 5 times, has had a new crystal and a number of new straps. The radium luminescence is now very weak so it only glows very faintly.. Usually I remember to wind it up, and so, generally, it is wrong by less than a minute/month. Apparently it is now worth ~£1,000.00.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrist watches - I've heard of them

      So?? That has no more relevance than it mentions the word watch.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Wrist watches - I've heard of them

        >So?? That has no more relevance than it mentions the word watch.

        So let's give Tim99 the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was raising the idea of longevity; the idea of a item being useful over decades or centuries is pleasing when many of the gizmos around us today might last no more than five years.

        Pens, cigarette lighters, watches... it is possible to buy a brand new version of each of these things today and find them almost identical to models made fifty years ago. (Though of course you're more likely to come away with a Biro, a Bic or a Casio. )

      2. Tim99 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Wrist watches - I've heard of them

        @AC 09:26

        <blockquote>

        So?? That has no more relevance than it mentions the word watch.

        </blockquote>

        The relevance is that Samsung are hoping to charge a lot of money for a device that has a likely useful life of <2 years, is only marginally useful, and like an old watch will only run for a day without being repowered.

        I would be very surprised if many of them are in working order in 5 years. Smartphones work because they are a useful stand-alone compromise hybrid of a phone, calendar, address book, map, camera, diary, note book and computer. The Samsung only appears to do one thing well (tell the time) with most of its other functions a fairly poor compromise.

        I have seen previous "world changing" hybrid electronic watch/technology hybrids fail because they really are far more trouble than they are worth to the average user - You also risk looking like the sort of person who thought that a Casio Calculator Watch was really cool :-)

        On the other hand (wrist?) a single function analogue watch tells you immediately that it is nearly time to go to the pub...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrist watches - I've heard of them

      So far in 71 years it has been cleaned 5 times, has had a new crystal and a number of new straps

      Triggers broom...

  21. BigG

    The iWatch will be 'wound' automatically on the wrist so therefore powered by an explicit picture of an iDevice launch which can be displayed on any other compatible iDevice. Fap Fap Fap.

  22. IHateWearingATie

    What I want from a smart watch....

    Very disappointed.

    My requirements:

    - somewhat waterproof (won't go swimming in it, needs to resist getting dunked when I wash my hands)

    - Tells the time & date

    - Enough battery capacity to get me through a full day with moderate use

    - Wireless charging (put charging mat on bedside table - watch gets placed on it each night)

    - Functions like the notifications pull down in the phone - preview emails, texts etc. Don't want to have to configure notifications for watch separately, it needs to use my phone's settings

    - Controls volume, play/pause, simple track and playlist selection for whatever audio apps I have (pocketcast, double twist etc)

    - Maybe voice control for sending simple texts etc

    - Tell me when it and the phone needs recharging

    - Have the option to display phone connectivity status (wifi, cellular etc)

    - Cost around £150. Will possibly stretch to £200 for something amazing - a half decent looking Seiko standard watch costs over £100 anyway.

    Won't be getting a smart watch until it can meet the list.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What I want from a smart watch....

      The Casio G-Shock with Bluetooth LE meets some of your requirements... its battery lasts a couple of years, it's around £150, and it is tough and waterproof. However, it doesn't have all the functions you listed - it mainly does notifications.

      It is iPhone-only at this stage, but Android has only just adopted Bluetooth LE so that may change.

  23. Frankee Llonnygog

    What time is it?

    "Time to charge your waerrrr..........."

  24. drunk.smile

    A feature I would want in the watch if it is paired to a handset is...

    A feature I would want in the watch if it is paired to a handset is that it is also connected to 'Find My Samsung' or whatever it's called. I'm one of those foolish people who will leave my phone in a taxi after a heavy night & would love to be able to simply look at my wrist on realizing & track it down.

    With pairing of the phone & watch it would also allow really detailed proximity tracking once connection is re-established. I'd feel like a spy.

    A vibrate when the pairing is lost would be useful too , it might to stop me from being such a forgetful idiot.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "phablet" - ie. very large smartphone

    If you have to describe your portmanteau every time you use it, you know it is not going to catch.

    Please give up.

    1. Obvious Robert

      Re: "phablet" - ie. very large smartphone

      You may think that... but I heard someone on Radio 4 recently say the word 'fondleslab'.

      1. spiny norman

        Re: "phablet" - ie. very large smartphone

        And we don't need to have fondleslab explained to us every time it's used, so that rather reinforces the original point.

  26. JDX Gold badge

    This is why Apple wait rather than innovate

    They don't want to bring the buggy, untested products to market, only a polished slick version based on thorough examination of the failings and successes of first-to-market products.

    As a business strategy, it makes sense to me!

    1. QuinnDexter
      FAIL

      Re: This is why Apple wait rather than innovate

      Of course, should the iWatch be announced next week then Apple will have had loads of time to change the production, battery life, etc etc on the back of Samsung's delivery yesterday...

  27. Chris Parsons

    Tacky

    I think I'll stick to my Rolex, thank you very much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tacky

      The people who say that sort of think are usually wearing knock-offs anyway.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. nimster
    FAIL

    Already have a very smart watch

    for less than 2/3 of the price, i have a wtach that tells the correct time, wherever i am on the Earth. I NEVER have to set the time as that is done automatically - even when I am travelling abroad. it can receive the radio signal from 6 atomic clocks around the world, so te time will always be dead accurate.

    On top of that, I NEVER have to wind it up or change the battery, the solar cells on the face of the watch ensure that i always have enough charge to keep the battery going for a month without light, if that were to ever happen.

    I will never need anythign more than what I have and i am a true gadget freak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already have a very smart watch

      Genuine question: How does know what time zone to use? There are more than 6 time zones in the world, how does it know what time it is in if it is only receiving a signal from the 6 atomic clocks?

      Also assuming the time on the smart watch is set by the phone the smart watch is connected to then I would expect it to show the correct time automatically when travelling as well.. I never need to change the time on my phone when I go abroad because it is set by the phone network.

      1. nimster

        Re: Already have a very smart watch

        I don't know, it just does.

        One of the things I detest having to do, on the odd occasion when i do foreget my watch, is having to pull out my phone and switch it on to determine what tie it is - particulalry when travelling. which is why i have always ensured i have a good watch and at the moment, can not conceive wearing, what appears to be an exceptionally flawed product. (not a Samsung ahter, i own a S4).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fugly + Fail.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple must be happy as sets the bar pretty low for them to beat it.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm.... I'm no luddite

    But I think I'll stick to watches of the self winding variety, for now. I think the whole smart watch/wearable tech thing smacks of desperation. Apple, Samsung, Sony and friends have sold us everything else, and now they're desperately looking for something new to to do nature's work* for them.

    * Nature's work is of course the separation of fools from their money.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart watch dumb idea

    I'm an iPhone defector and a Galaxy S4 owner who liked the idea of a smartwatch and I resisted buying a pebble to see what Samsung would come up with after being so impressed with the S4.

    After watching the presentation and reading articles I now think this is a dumb idea and that's before I consider poor battery life, screen, price point and the fact you need a phone into the mix.

    Everyone is betting the farm on wearable tech, but it remains to be seen whether it will take off. Samsung have made a massive mistake here the product misses the point completely. Google Glass looks to be a better idea and product. All Samsung have done here is made a small device that pairs with a giant device, but that you still need to focus on an object just a smaller less functional one.

    I've no doubt Apple will release something in the next 12 months that gets a lot of the problems with this device and similar ones right and provides more functionality and purposefulness then Samsung will roll out those features in a future model, but at this price you'd have to be mad to get one ahead of say Google Glass

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pedometer

    With a super secret spy camera hidden in a watch strap, it's also good to know that "A pedometer is built in". Although I believe you missed out an 'a'.

  34. mrfill
    Happy

    Your wishes granted

    I have the ideal smart watch. Phone/wifi/bluetooth/mp3 player/Android and it cost a few pence.

    Just gaffer tape your smart phone to your wrist :)

    All these companies seem to ignore the fact that women usually have smaller wrists and having one of these huge carbunkles on a dainty wrist aint gonna happen. Thats 50% of the potential market ignored. However, they will have their use as any male seen with one of these can be immediately rejected as a possible dick head.

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