This week's Galaxy Gear prototype leak didn't leave much to the imagination. Samsung's new wearable was expected to debut with a built-in camera, speakers and a relatively clunky design, all of which are indeed present on the device we're meeting today. But we now have quite a bit more clarity when it comes to functionality and specifications -- the rumored 3-inch display size and 4-megapixel camera resolution, for example, were incorrect. The Gear will instead ship with a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 320 x 320. That strap-mounted camera, for its part, is designed to capture low-res shots and 10-second 720p videos, and includes a 1.9-megapixel BSI sensor and an auto-focus lens.
The big surprise here is third-party applications support -- there will be a total of 70 partner programs at launch, including sharing apps like Evernote and Path, fitness companions like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal, and a handful of other offerings, such as TripIt, Line, Vivino and even eBay. We'll dive into software functionality a bit more in our hands-on, so for now, let's talk compatibility and specs. We were caught a bit off guard by the wearable's limited compatibility, though -- at launch, it'll only work with the Note 3 and Note 10.1, though some Galaxy S4 owners may be able to take advantage soon, after that device scores an update to Android 4.3. Assuming your handset is compatible, the Gear will serve as a companion device, enabling access to features like S Voice, Find My Device, a pedometer and third-party additions including those outlined above.
The device is powered by an 800MHz processor and a 315 mAh non-removable cell, which Samsung reps say should provide up to a day of "regular" use. There are two built-in mics (with noise cancellation support), a speaker, Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer and gyroscope, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. The Galaxy Gear will eventually ship, along with the Note 3, to more than 140 countries.
Pricing and country-specific availability has yet to be confirmed, but some customers should expect to have it in hand (or on hand, rather) beginning September 25th. Sadly, customers in the US and Japan will have to wait until October to pick one up for $299.
Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch hands-on
Samsung Introduces GALAXY Gear, a Wearable Device to Enhance the Freedom of Mobile Communications
Samsung GALAXY experience is now extended through GALAXY Gear
Berlin, Germany – September 4, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today introduced the GALAXY Gear, a perfect companion device that further integrates the Samsung GALAXY experience into everyday life. Samsung GALAXY Gear combines smart device connectivity, tailored technological features, and stylish design as a single premium accessory.
"Samsung's ongoing smart device innovation leadership reflects our commitment to listen to our consumers, who want their daily lives to be easier and more enjoyable. Samsung GALAXY Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives, and bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology," said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics. "Samsung GALAXY Gear frees users from the need to constantly check their smart devices while maintaining connections. It provides what we call 'smart freedom,' by allowing users to choose how, why, when and where they are connected."Experience new mobile communications freedoms
Samsung GALAXY Gear lets users to live in the moment while staying connected to their Samsung GALAXY devices. It notifies users of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages and creates the opportunity for users to accept or discreetly ignore those messages. When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, users can simply pick up their Samsung GALAXY devices and the Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full content on the screen.
The built-in speaker allows users to conduct hands-free calls directly from the Gear, maintaining connections to their mobile communications without disrupting their daily routines. For example, a user leaving the grocery store, whose hands are full with shopping bags, could still make a call by speaking into the GALAXY Gear without touching the screen. Users can also draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather on the GALAXY Gear with S Voice.
Capture daily life from your wrist
In addition to enabling smart device controls, Samsung GALAXY Gear introduces several features that help users easily capture life's meaningful moments which otherwise might be missed. With the Memographer feature, a 1.9 Megapixel camera, users who are on the move or participating in physical activities can record both photos and video to create quick, visual records of important information or events from their daily lives, as well as share them on their social networks. Extending the quick-record concept, Voice Memo lets users capture important thoughts or conversations from their wrists and save those voice recordings into texts on their Samsung GALAXY devices.
A growing list of controls for favorite features
With the GALAXY Gear, users gain a wide range of favorite features that further increase the benefits of this new accessory. New security enhancement Auto Lock automatically secures the companion smartphone screen any time that GALAXY Gear is more than 1.5 meters away from the smartphone, and then unlocks the smartphone when the companion devices are near each other again. Find My Device helps users find the location of their smart devices when they have been misplaced by making them beep, illuminate and vibrate. With Samsung GALAXY Gear, users can also control the music played on their Samsung GALAXY devices. As with traditional music players, it helps users browse, play and pause songs even when their smart device is not within reach. Finally, the GALAXY Gear also works like a Pedometer to track physical activity via enhanced, built-in sensor technology. This feature systematically and automatically monitors users so they can track key personal data such as calories burned, steps taken and distance covered.
Standalone Watch and Iconic Fashion Accessory
Samsung GALAXY Gear embodies understated elegance. Its refined design, executed in, high-quality finishes, conjures images of luxury jewelry while still being understated enough to go well with any outfit. A rounded and simple flowing form wraps around the body, integrating with the user's personal environment, and maintaining comfort at all times. The GALAXY Gear also serves as a wristwatch and includes several face options that create the opportunity for users to personalize their watch face. It will come preloaded with 10 different clock options and more choices will be downloadable via Samsung Apps. The GALAXY Gear experience can be further personalized by selecting from six colors that will be available at launch: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green.
Samsung GALAXY Gear will be launched with the GALAXY Note 3 in more than 140 countries around the world starting from September 25.
Samsung GALAXY Gear will be on display at the Samsung booth # 20 at IFA 2013, September 6 through September 11, 2013. Full details and product images are available at www.samsungmobilepress.com or m.samsungmobilepress.com.
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