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More details on Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch: those images are of a prototype

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Venturebeat caused a holiday weekend stir with what appeared to be pictures of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which will be formally unveiled this Wednesday. However, the model of the watch reported on VentureBeat is a prototype that many developers have been able to access. Our sources tell us that Samsung has a different, more finished product that will be announced this coming week in simultaneous events in New York and Berlin, which is playing host to the IFA technology trade show.

Samsung Smartwatch UIThe source adds that the soon to be launched Samsung SmartWatch has no built in browser and uses the latest 4.3 version of Android, with keyboard features turned off. The watch comes with Bluetooth LE and that means it can work with phones that support Bluetooth LE, including the iPhone 5 and other Android devices. The watch can be used for phone calls as well.

The battery life on the prototypes is said to be around 24 hours with modest use, but more regular usage leads to a drastic drop in battery life, roughly to about 10 hours. In addition, our source adds that notifications are full screen, with icons on the top and two line text at the bottom. At the moment, Facebook and Twitter notifications aren’t working on the prototype devices. Everything else we have already reported in our post from last week, where we shared the details of the device.

So to recap what we know about the Galaxy Gear:

  • High quality OLED displays will show the full spectrum of colors.
  • The display will be around 2.5 inches diagonally (and 3 inches diagonally including the case.)
  • It will be powered by a dual core processor, probably a Samsung Exynos 4212 dual core 1.5GHz with Mali-400 MP4 GPU.
  • It has a camera and a microphone integrated into the strap and even tiny speakers.
  • It has Built in NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • The Gear is powered by Android 4.3, with keyboard featured turned off.
  • The device won’t have a browser and will need the phone to tether to the Internet.
  • It will need a Samsung device with a watch-focused app store to install apps on the watch.
  • It has a built-in accelerometer and other sensors that will allow it to act has a quantified self device.
  • Expect battery power to be 24 hours with modest use, but around 10 hours with more active usage.

33 Responses to “More details on Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch: those images are of a prototype”

  1. in order for smartwatches to work they need to be a wraparound screen, not a watchband with literally a watch on it hat can get some texts, bad photos and phone.

    it looks bad and is rather useless. funcitonality is key. right now i don’t get it. it doesn’t replace a phone, camera or anything. i guess if it’s proced like one of those fit-bit thingamajigs people may get it instead. also, people interested in showing off weatlth arent’ going to get this instead of an Omega, Rolex etc..

    hopefully Apple, or whoever, is working on something more useful. from what i’ve heard so far, this is not something people will rush out to buy.

  2. I think we are judging them too early. They are still in their early stages. Ability to read / send / messages, receive calls, update status and more all without touching your smartphone is smart. I believe they can be more productive in the near future.


    @feedly about killer functionalities:
    – health sensors – monitor on demand vital signs like heart rate
    – activity tracker (pedometer) – replaces your Fitbit, Jabowne, Shine …
    – camera – to capture moments instantly
    – gps navigation – no get instruction easily (pedestrian use for ex)
    all this with more than 1 day battery life please !

    we welcome more ideas and discussions …

  4. Gene Tatum

    I am partial to our new release, the Z1 SmartWatch. Operating on Android, it features quad band open for use with all carriers, WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, 5MP Camera, and a very provocative style. Google us at SaturnPCS

  5. Jim Lyons

    One question. Does the display stay on all the time so I can glance at the watch to see what time it is? This is the main reason I wear a Timex, by the way, To fumble with a button or have to shake my wrist to see the time seems silly. IMHO.

    • Jim

      Thanks for the question — from what I understand is that when you bring the watch up to your face, the display automatically turns on. However, there are options to keep it on constantly, but that would drain the battery life as well.

  6. Don’t worry, Apple is thinking this one out for ya’. Just wait until Apple actually applies the functionality and design concepts on theirs that make this type of gear useful. I understand Android’s knock-off addiction, just let Apple create the device that people want and will use. Sorry fandroids, Samsung proves again, it can’t innovate.

    • Jeremy Hymes-Balsley

      None at all. The smartwatch will not function without a smartphone (or if it does, it’ll be a dumb-watch — see Sony’s first Smartwatch for an idea of how this works.)

      Don’t think of this as its own stand-alone device. It’s not. Instead, think of it as a second, smaller screen for your phone. Incoming call? Instead of fishing out your phone, you can glance at your smartwatch. Text? Read it right on the watch. Same with facebook alerts and tweets. This is a slightly less ‘in your face’ version of Google Glass, but in the end it has the same purpose — moving data off your phone and to something that (some of) us will find more convenient.

      • seems like a completely useless product. i mean how hard is it to look at your phone for a call? the only reason to get this i think is instead of a fitbit, Jawbone since if it does what those do plus the other things, if it’s comparably proced it would seem to be better to get that.

        i don’t find the smartphone to be inconvenient for calls etc… if you use it as a phone will it have to be on speaker?

        i guess we all wait and see, but there are others out there like that and they all seem pointless to me.

  7. It looks like one of those Casio watches with the front facing calculators.
    Damm, where is Apple when you need a good design to copy?????
    Well done Samsung. Another well thought out product to leave the user feeling like they just got stung again.

    • No one know what the finished product looks like. It looks like Samsung is doing what Apple used to do when they introduced a new product — building up anticipation for the tech geeks. Hey, that’s capitalism you know??!!

      I’ve seen some tech data and the screen supposed to be a curvature as they are using new ways to form ultra fine resolution screens now, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s flexible also. Regarding the functionality, well, if they were able to squeeze in some decent hardware into the thing, it’s up the developers introduce some cool apps, only the skies the limit I guess.

      Very exciting!

  8. Battery life is quite decent if we picture this as a mobile phone – certainly because we charge our mobile atleast once a day.

    However it is a watch and not a mobile replacement. Who will want to charge watch daily.. 10 hours battery life is too less for a watch.

    • Antoine Mazerty

      This is the kind of nonsensical comment you get when you are a brain dead parrot ignoring the facts, like the iPhone early designs bearing a Sony logo… Ah childish fanbois…

      • There would be no Samsung stupidwatch if it weren’t for the rumor of an Apple stupidwatch. The whole idea is one whose time has not yet come, for the obvious reasons of the insufficiency of current battery technology and the still not perfectly reliable speech recognition capabilities of so-called ‘smart’ devices. You are both ‘fanbois’ and both utterly clueless.

        BTW, there was no “iPhone early design bearing a Sony logo”, but thanks for the laugh. Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without the plethora of morons intruding into my life each day to brighten my mood.

        • Jack Quilty

          Do a tad bit more research. A watch called the MotoActv. A sports watch that runs a custom version of Android. In fact, you can put a custom rom on it to work as functional as most phones…and It’s been around for around two years.

  9. Steven L.

    >that means it can work with phone with Bluetooth LE, including the iPhone 5 and other Android devices.

    >It will need a Samsung device with a watch-focused app store to install apps on the watch.

    So… it CAN work with other devices, but you’d be wasting your money?

    • This just shows you how bad android is with battery usage. Can’t blame it on the screen. And no browser as well. This is Androids weak point probably because Apple has been focusing on efficiency while Android phones just throw in huge batteries.

      Not saying these watches are the future or anything, but technology is definitely shrinking in size and Apple may be set to lead the way yet again.