Get ready, world: The smartwatch wars have begun. Samsung on Wednesday announced the Galaxy Gear, its first-ever smartwatch. The Gear’s specs include a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED touch display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels, an 800Mhz processor, a 1.9 megapixel camera, a 315mAh battery, an accelerometer, Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 4.3. Samsung is describing the device as a companion to its popular smartphones such as the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note II, which can control settings on the Gear using the Samsung Gear Manager mobile application. The device will only be compatible with the just-announced Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy 10.1 tablet at launch, however. The new device will launch on September 25th globally and will sell in the United States for $299.
Being the first major tech company to launch its own smartwatch is a minor coup for Samsung, which has beat Apple, Google and Microsoft to the market with its wearable computer. Although smartwatches aren’t typically seen as potential revolutionary devices as smartphones and tablets have been, they should be a nice complement for mobile users who want ways to get access to certain applications and to see notifications without having to pull out and unlock their smartphones.
Apple is expected to release its own smartwatch sometime over the next year while Google has been gearing up to release its own smartwatch by buying wearable computing designer WIMM Labs. Google has also been experimenting with mobile headsets as potential wearable computers and will likely release its Google Glass device to the market in 2014.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out our preview of the Galaxy Gear.
Samsung’s full press release for the Gear follows below.
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 http://www.samsungmobilepress.com or m.samsungmobilepress.com.