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  • Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch hands-on (video)

    by 
    Zach Honig
    Zach Honig
    09.04.2013

    Wrist watches, smart or otherwise, are simply not for everyone -- there are more smartphone users in the world, many times over, than there will ever be smartwatch owners. Despite the limited market for such a device, however, Samsung's decided it's time to join in on the fun. The Galaxy Gear, as we've known it to be called for a few weeks now, was hardly guarded with a level of secrecy that's become standard for a flagship smartphone, but as the device is finally official -- and expected to launch in more than 100 countries within weeks -- just how does it perform? Find our take after the break. Follow all of our IFA 2013 coverage by heading to our event hub!

  • Samsung unveils Galaxy Gear smartwatch with 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen, built-in camera, 70 apps

    by 
    Zach Honig
    Zach Honig
    09.04.2013

    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. Follow all of our IFA 2013 coverage by heading to our event hub!

  • Sony's SmartWatch 2 hits IFA, we go wrists-on

    by 
    Brian Heater
    Brian Heater
    09.04.2013

    Sure smart watches are the hot newness, but Sony's already been there and done that. In fact, the company got a jump on IFA by first announcing its second-gen wearable way back in late June. The device did grab a brief mention at today's press conference (due in part, we suspect, to something Samsung may have up its sleeve), and the device got some face time on the IFA show floor. The watch doesn't look entirely unlike its predecessor, though there have been some modifications. For starters, the display has been kicked up a bit to a 1.6-incher with 220 x 176 resolution. Of course, that's still a tiny color touchscreen, so you're only going to fit around six icons on there at any one time. The device is also slimmer than its predecessor, which goes a long way for something you're going to wear on your wrist, though we wouldn't exactly call it thin at the moment.

  • Switched On: The smartwatch Microsoft needed yesterday

    by 
    Ross Rubin
    Ross Rubin
    09.01.2013

    Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology. The announcement of Steve Ballmer's impending retirement from Microsoft cast a spotlight on the company's transition to becoming a devices and services company. While it's unclear how progress toward this goal will be measured, the success model for the "devices" part of its quest is Apple. (Indeed, Apple, leading with iCloud, is seeking to diversify into more of a "devices and services" company itself.) Apple's current revenue champions -- the iPhone and iPad -- are in categories that Microsoft recognized the potential of long before Apple's market entry. When the US smartphone market consisted of Microsoft, Palm and RIM, Windows Mobile had been powering smartphones -- and doing respectably in terms of US market share -- for years before Apple changed the game. Now, Windows Phone scrapes by with a few percentage points of the market. And the Tablet PCs that ran Windows a decade ago were introduced as the future of the notebook. While today's Windows tablets and convertibles are much thinner and lighter than they were back then, it's amazing to see how recalcitrant PC vendors have been in their design, with few pursuing pure slates and some using twist-hinges similar to those used in Tablet PCs.

  • Google quietly acquired smartwatch maker WIMM Labs

    by 
    Terrence O'Brien
    Terrence O'Brien
    08.30.2013

    Ok, so here's the deal: WIMM Labs was one of the earliest entrants into the smartwatch space, way back in 2011. While the Android-based WIMM One failed to set the consumer market on fire, it apparently caught Google's eye. In the summer of 2012, the company put a simple message up on its site declaring that it had entered an exclusive partnership with an unnamed entity for its technology and would thus be ending sales of its devices. Now it appears that partner was Google -- a Mountain View spokesperson just confirmed the acquisition to us. The company's immediate plans for WIMM are not yet public but, according to GigaOM, most of the staff stayed on board and are now working with the Android team. The obvious use would be in developing Google's own rumored smartwatch product, which would likely incorporate many of WIMM Lab's SDKs and existing platform tools. However, it's worth noting that the company doesn't consider itself merely a maker of app-running timepieces, but a manufacturer of wearables in general. We wouldn't be shocked if some of WIMM's tech and experience was put to good use in Glass.

  • Samsung Galaxy Gear control app screens confirm NFC, other features

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.29.2013

    Samsung already said that its Galaxy Gear smartwatch would launch on September 4th, but that doesn't mean the leaks are over. Far from it -- @evleaks just posted screenshots of Gear Manager, the smartphone app that will oversee Samsung's wristwear. The images mostly corroborate details from past rumors, such as the SM-V700 model number, app support and NFC pairing. There are a couple of surprises, however. One shot mentions a "find my watch" tool, and another shows an abstracted representation of the Galaxy Gear itself -- don't read too much into that last picture, though. While we'd rather see the real smartwatch, this new leak may tide us over until the official Galaxy Gear unveiling next week.

  • Motorola files patent application for a gaze-detecting wristworn device

    by 
    Melissa Grey
    Melissa Grey
    08.29.2013

    These days, wearable tech is a beast that cannot be stopped, even if we wanted to (we don't). We recently got wind of an application Motorola submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (initially filed in February of 2012 and published today) for an electronic device designed "to enfold about an appendage of a user." While "appendage" could mean a great many things, let's go wild and call this gadget a smartwatch. The application specifies a few interesting features, including gaze detection, touchscreen controls and a hinged dual display system. Motorola is no stranger to this territory; its MOTOACTV has enough features (like Twitter and Facebook) to be considered a fitness-oriented smartwatch. This newly proposed device includes functions similarly geared towards health-conscious consumers, like vital sign and exercise monitoring. While not all patents materialize into the finished products we might expect, it's interesting to know that Motorola is actively pursuing one such as this. The application can be read in full at the source link below.

  • Archos outs a phone and several Android tablets ahead of IFA

    by 
    Brian Heater
    Brian Heater
    08.29.2013

    The rest of us haven't even started packing for IFA and yet here's Archos, spilling the beans about what it'll be showing off in Berlin next week. As ever, the company's got lots to talk about. Lots. The lineup includes a bunch of tablets and a handset, all running Android. At the top of the tablet heap is the company's Platinum range, which includes aluminum-clad slates running quad-core processors, Android 4.2 and displays with up to 2,048 x 1,536 resolution. The 101xs2, not part of the Platinum line, also has a quad-core processor inside, along with front-facing stereo speakers and a magnetic keyboard. Then there's the Xenon tablet series -- three devices that the company is positioning as "cheaper than Apple or Samsung Wi-Fi tablets." For gamers, the company will be trotting out a currently spec-less GamePad 2, and for kids, Archos is going to show off the skinned and parent-friendly ChildPad. There are a few more details available for the Archos 50 Oxygen, a flagship handset that features vanilla Android 4.2, a quad-core CPU, 16GB of storage and a 13MP rear-facing camera. The company also used the opportunity to tease a "unique Smart Watch concept." How is it unique? We can't really tell you. More information on that and the rest of the above coming soon, we're sure. Hey, the company has to save something for IFA, right?

  • Samsung exec confirms Galaxy Gear and Note III announcement on September 4th as images start to leak (updated)

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.27.2013

    The cat's out of the bag, and a rogue Samsung executive is the one who's been untying the strings. During a chat with the Korea Times, Samsung's Lee Young-hee blabbed that we'd see both the Galaxy Gear and the Galaxy Note III being announced at IFA on September 4th. The mobile VP added that the oft-rumored "wearable concept device" wouldn't come with a flexible display and will be a companion gadget for your smartphone -- but declined to offer any more detail about what we can expect from the flagship phablet. Never mind, however, because pictures purporting to be of the Galaxy Note III's front have emerged over on HD Blog, and you can catch a full gallery down at the source. Update: Here's even more pictures purporting to be of the Note III from ETradeSupply. The site is claiming that the third generation device will measure in at 5.69-inches. [Thanks, Lucas]

  • The Hot Watch is a smartwatch that makes calls, we go hands-on

    by 
    Dana Wollman
    Dana Wollman
    08.21.2013

    By now you've all heard of the Pebble smartwatch, which became the most successful campaign in Kickstarter history after hitting its $100,000 fundraising goal in a mere two hours. But the Hot Watch is no slouch, either. With 16 days left to go in its Kickstarter campaign, it's already surpassed its $150,000 fundraising goal by more than three hundred grand. It also offers some features you might not expect from a smartwatch -- namely, the ability to make calls from the watch itself, Dick Tracy-style, without having to use your phone as a middleman. If you choose to take a chance on it at the source link below, it'll cost you $109 for the basic black version, as shown above, though once it ships (sometime in December, we're told), it will range from $169 to $249, depending on whether you get it in plastic or with more premium materials like leather and titanium trim. Though it won't arrive on people's doorsteps for another four months, we've already scored a few minutes of hands-on time. Read on for some early impressions (and photos too!).

  • Omate TrueSmart watch launches on Kickstarter, works with or without your smartphone

    by 
    Donald Melanson
    Donald Melanson
    08.21.2013

    Yes, it's another crowdfunding campaign for a smartwatch. The latest competing for your backing dollars comes from upstart Omate, which has today launched its TrueSmart watch on Kickstarter. The hook here is that the watch will work as standalone device without a smartphone, letting you make calls, send texts or, as the company suggests, even pair it with Google Glass for some fully-wearable computing. As with other smartwatches, though, it can also act as a smartphone companion to serve up notifications and the like, and the company is hoping that developers will tailor their apps and create new ones specifically for the device; it's simply running Android 4.2.2 underneath Omate's custom launcher, which the company notes is rootable for those so inclined. As far as the hardware goes, you'll get a 1.54-inch color display (240 x 240 resolution), a 1.3GHz dual-core Cortex A7, a built-in 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of memory (with up to 32GB supported via microSD), a micro SIM card slot for 3G connectivity, and an IP67-rated water-resistant design (available in black only). Those on board will have to pony up at least $179 to back the device, which is expected to ship in October or November.

  • LG exec: tablet, phablet, smartwatch and Firefox OS device coming soon

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    08.21.2013

    LG's mobile communications head in Bulgaria, Dimitar Valev, has laid out some of the company's key plans in an interview with Dnevnik.bg. For starters, he confirmed that the company will fire up its temporarily mothballed tablet lines with a new model, likely the 9.8-inch V500 we saw at the FCC earlier today. On the smartphone side, LG will trump its 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro model with a 6-inch handset and finally release its own Firefox OS device early next year. Most intriguingly, he said the company would give the smartwatch category another kick at the can, despite indifference to LG's GD910 Watch Phone model several years ago -- adding that the device might use flexible LCD tech. We're not sure if Mr. Valev was speaking out of turn, but if accurate, it'll be interesting to see how the new hardware pans out -- especially LG's take on Firefox OS.

  • Apple hires Nike FuelBand advisor Jay Blahnik

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.19.2013

    Apple clearly loves Nike when there's Nike+ support across many iPhones and iPods, but that affection appears to be growing even deeper. Both 9to5 Mac and AllThingsD report that fitness expert Jay Blahnik, who consulted with Nike during the FuelBand's development, joined Apple earlier this month. While the new hire hasn't outlined his role, it's easy to see him working on wrist-worn devices given Tim Cook's professed interest in the category. We've reached out to the company for more details, and we'll let you know if we learn more. Whatever Blahnik's exact duties, his career move suggests that fitness plays an important role in Apple's device roadmap -- fans may want to lace up their running shoes. [Image credit: Nggcali12, Wikimedia Commons]

  • Daily Roundup: Laptop buyer's guide, Apple's gold-colored iPhone, Withings Pulse review, and more!

    by 
    David Fishman
    David Fishman
    08.16.2013

    You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

  • Samsung smartwatch may start ticking as early as September

    by 
    Sharif Sakr
    Sharif Sakr
    08.16.2013

    We know it's been trademarked and patented and hyped in general, but now we also have a tentative launch date for Samsung's anticipated smartwatch. A report by Bloomberg, attributed to two unnamed sources, says the device -- which we suspect may be called the "Galaxy Gear" -- will be unveiled at IFA in Berlin on September 4th. Other details are scarce, beyond the watch reportedly being able to "make calls, surf the web and handle emails" using Android, but that sounds like plenty to be getting on with.

  • Hyetis promises smartwatch with 41-megapixel camera for $1,200

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.14.2013

    While we'd love to see Hyetis newest smartwatch in the real world, we're not entirely sure it's not just the product of an engineer's fevered dreams. Aimed squarely at tech-savvy one-percenters, the Hyetis Crossbow claims to pack a 41-megapixel camera that you can carry around at the end of your arm. The sketchy renders and details available promise that the zoom lens will be surrounded by a ring flash and noise-canceling microphone for video. Other features include, WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth, the ability to interact with iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices, GPS and wait for it, Biometric sensors. While it may sound too good to be true, or, you know, real, Hyetis is hoping to charge customers $1,200 -- even though you could just strap a 1020 to your wrist for half that price.

  • inWatch One smartwatch has GSM connectivity and a heavily skinned version of Android

    by 
    Michael Gorman
    Michael Gorman
    08.09.2013

    From Kickstarter projects to rumored devices from the biggest gadget manufacturers on earth, smartwatches of all kinds are popping up all over the world. The latest such wearable was unearthed by our good friends at Engadget Chinese, and is called inWatch One. It sets itself apart from other smartwatches with a custom version of Android 4.2 and a GSM SIM card slot to give your wrist access to mobile voice and data networks. inWatch has a 1.54-inch 240 x 240 capacitive display, a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU of unknown origin, a 2-megapixel camera and a 500mAh battery. Connectivity comes courtesy of the aforementioned GSM (likely for China-friendly 900/1800/2100 MHz bands), WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS radios. As for that custom Android build, dubbed inDroid, its been tailored to fit the watch's smaller screen and works with some of China's most popular apps; WeChat, Sina Weibo, QQ and Baidu music are all supported. Interested? It's available now on the company's website for RMB 1,788 (about $293 US).

  • Samsung trademark filing for 'Galaxy Gear' hints at smartwatch

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    08.06.2013

    The evidence keeps piling up for a Samsung smartwatch that has yet to materialize. Most recently, Dutch site Galaxy Club uncovered a US trademark filing for "Samsung Galaxy Gear" that was published at the end of July. Though a separate application for "Samsung Gear" was submitted in late June, the latest paperwork manages to be a bit more concise and potentially revealing. The documents submitted to Uncle Sam describe an object using the "Gear" moniker as such: Wearable digital electronic devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle capable of providing access to the Internet and for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages; wearable electronic handheld devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle for the wireless receipt, storage and/or transmission of data and messages and for keeping track of or managing personal information; smart phones; tablet computers; portable computers Sure, the language focuses largely on a high-tech, wrist-worn device, but hardware bearing the "Gear" name could just as likely be a phone or tablet. Of course, JK Shin and Co. could even be staking claim to the alias without concrete plans for a particular product. Maybe we'll be able to put all this guessing behind us after the South Korean manufacturer's September 4th event -- but we wouldn't bet on it.

  • Tentative Samsung smartwatch design unearthed in Korean patents

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.03.2013

    While Samsung hasn't been shy about its desire to build a new smartwatch, we've had few clues as to what that wristwear could look like. However, Moveplayer has uncovered a trio of Korean design patents that, combined, could represent a design template. Registered between March and May, the patents show a watch with both Android-style controls in the middle and a prominent flexible display. The device looks plausible, but we wouldn't leap to conclusions -- companies frequently patent designs that won't necessarily ship. There's also no clear connections to a previously filed Gear trademark associated with wearable technology. If Samsung ever releases a watch in this mold, though, it will at least seem very familiar. [Thanks, JunK]

  • Pebble adds Gmail support to its iOS app

    by 
    Kelly Hodgkins
    Kelly Hodgkins
    08.02.2013

    Pebble updated its iOS app and finally added the ability to receive email alerts on the smart watch. Previously, the Pebble watch could only receive incoming text messages and caller IDs from its companion iPhone. The new notification feature pings the Pebble watch when you get a new Gmail and IMAP email message. As Pebble points out in its blog post, the notifications are not pushed immediately to your handset. Rather, the Pebble app polls your email every nine minutes and alerts you about unread messages. Though not perfect, it's better than the jailbreak hack you had to use if you wanted email alerts in previous versions of the software. Pebble owners can download the Pebble app from the iOS App Store for free.