Here at Google's yearly developer conference, we just learned a whole lot more about Android Wear, the company's OS tailored to wearables. With that info came word that Samsung's rolling out the newest member of the Gear family, the Live, and I just laid my hands and eyes on one firsthand. Problem is, the smartwatch was only running Android Wear in "retail mode." That means that I couldn't actually explore the ins and outs of Android Wear, but I did get to strap the newest member of Samsung's wrist-worn family on my arm.
The Live fits right into the design aesthetic we've seen on the Gear, Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, and shares their solid build quality. It's got a seamless silver housing tightly fitted around its screen and a rubber wristband that clasps together with a pair of prongs studding the back of a brushed-silver buckle. Unlike its brethren, however, the Live has a slimmer profile and has no buttons or screws adorning its housing -- an omission meant to keep with Android Wear's professed love for voice controls, no doubt.
Unfortunately, you still need to navigate through swipes, and it turns out that the shiny screen and the silver surrounding it were both great at acquiring fingerprints. So, while the watch is handsome to behold at first, it was soon decorated with evidence of my use. The watch is relatively unobtrusive to wear, light on the wrist and comfy for the five minutes or so that I wore it. Swiping through the demo screens went off without a hitch, and the Live even picked up my "OK, Google" voice command in a noisy environment from a couple feet away without issue.
Attendees of the conference will be taking one of these home with them tomorrow, at which point we'll be better able to put the Gear Live through its paces. Until then, our hands-on video will have to suffice.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.