Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch was a huge disappointment. In our review of the device, we called it a product that had quite obviously been rushed to market and we said envisioning a future where wearables proliferate is impossible if said wearables are anything like the Gear. Compounding matters was the fact that only a small subset of consumers who might be interested in the Gear are able to purchase and use it, since the only smartphone on the planet that the Galaxy Gear is fully compatible with is the Galaxy Note 3. Yes, the Note 3 is probably the best smartphone Samsung has ever released, but the majority of Samsung’s smartphone customers are unable to even consider buying the Gear. Soon, however, that will change.
Samsung on Wednesday announced that it is issuing updates that will extend Galaxy Gear compatibility to eight additional devices. The most important among them are the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II. The Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3 and S4 zoom will also receive updates that introduce Gear compatibility.
For the S4, S III and Note II, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates will usher in Galaxy Gear support, and those updates have already begun rolling out in some regions. In the U.S., users will have to wait for their carriers to test and approve the software updates.
Samsung’s full press release follows below.
Samsung Extends Galaxy Gear Compatibility to Galaxy S III, S4, Note II, and More
October 23, 2013
Samsung provides more users with enhanced flexibility and freedom via extended Galaxy Gear compatibility
Seoul, Korea – Oct 23, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. today announced that more Samsung devices will be compatible with Galaxy Gear, a perfect companion device that makes mobile communication easier and more enjoyable.
Galaxy Gear will be available for use with Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II through the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) update. The update came first to Galaxy S4 devices in Germany in October. Samsung will also extend Galaxy Gear compatibility to other GALAXY devices – including Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 zoom – through a separate software update beginning at the end of October. Software update schedules for each device will vary by country and carrier.
“Extending Galaxy Gear compatibility to more Galaxy devices reflects our deep commitment to continuing to deliver enriched mobile experiences to our consumers,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile division, Samsung Electronics. “Through a significant effort to enhance and enrich the Galaxy experience, Samsung continues to empower our users in their mobile lives and enable smart freedom with Galaxy Gear.”
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Galaxy Gear will enable Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II users to make and answer calls and view incoming messages and notifications with just a glance. For a closer look at more important messages, users can simply pick up their master device and the Smart Relay feature instantly reveals the full content. Users can also find major social apps on Samsung Apps to maintain connections to their social networks via Galaxy Gear.
With a 1.9 Megapixel camera, users can snap a visual memo by simply tapping Galaxy Gear’s screen. Photos are then easily and automatically saved in the master device’s gallery. Users can enjoy a built-in Pedometer app and use Galaxy Gear to control the music played on their master devices. Of course the device also functions like a watch, with the option to change the face with 10 different clock options and even more options available via Samsung Apps.