Live blog: Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch

Galaxy Gear_001_Front_Rose Gold

After so many leaks of pictures and reported specifications, Samsung’s Unpacked Episode 2 event seemed a bit anti-climactic. It wasn’t quite as bizarre as past Samsung events, our live coverage of the event as it unfolded follows below, starting at the bottom of the page.

I was in New York City while David Meyer was in Berlin at the IFA show where Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 3 as well as theĀ Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Our coverage so far:

Kevin C. Tofel 11:05:05 am

So my takeaway: partly incremental improvements in the Note products but some nice advances as well. Color choice is becoming big. The Galaxy Gear? I’ll have to see it. Which I’m off to do now. More coverage to follow on GigaOM. Thanks!

Kevin C. Tofel 11:02:56 am

Sounds like overall nice improvements on the Note 10.1. No pricing though.

Kevin C. Tofel 11:01:54 am

Lots of the new S-Pen functions from Note 3 migrate to the Note 10.1. Smart.

Same chips as the Note 3 and 3 GB of RAM like the Note 3. Android 4.3.

Kevin C. Tofel 11:00:49 am

I may have to give up my Nexus 10 since I can use a pen and the multi-tasking on the new Note 10.1!

David Meyer 11:00:31 am

This year’s 10.1 is 10g lighter than last year’s, and the display is 2560×1600

Tom Krazit 11:00:23 am

Kevin C. Tofel 11:00:13 am

Whoa: 2560 x 1600 resolution!

Kevin C. Tofel 11:00:00 am

Still a 10.1 screen, 7.9 mm thick and weighs 535 grams (Wi-Fi model). 8200 mAh battery.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:59:26 am

So calling this the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is kind of unwieldy. Ugh….

Kevin C. Tofel 10:58:46 am

Here’s all the specs and info on the Note 3:

Kevin C. Tofel 10:58:29 am

Whoa… there was a weird stage show so I thought we were done!

David Meyer 10:58:08 am

No wait, the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition is on stage now…

Kevin C. Tofel 10:57:13 am

And it looks like that’s a wrap. We’ll get some hands on time now with the devices and report back with some first impressions shortly here on GigaOM. Thanks for following along.

And David, you might want to brush up on your handwriting. ;)

Kevin C. Tofel 10:54:27 am

2.3 GHz quad core chip for LTE version, 1.9 GHz octo-core for 3G units.

David Meyer 10:54:27 am

Gear camera resolution is 1.9MP, storage 4GB

Kevin C. Tofel 10:53:25 am

Wow, a 3200 mAh battery. Should easily be an all day device.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:52:52 am

And back to the Note 3. 13 MP camera and 1.9 MP front camera. 1080p/60 video. Depending on the model, you can take 4k video.

Tom Krazit 10:52:28 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:51:34 am

It’s definitely an interesting first take on a smartwatch but I’m not sold on apps for the wrist. Maybe Samsung will convince me. Doesn’t matter though: I use a Moto X, not a Samsung phone. BOO!

David Meyer 10:51:30 am

$299, says Bloomberg

David Meyer 10:51:10 am

Works with Galaxy SIII and up, Note II…

Kevin C. Tofel 10:50:48 am

1.63″ super AMOLED display. 800 MHz CPU. Gyroscope and accelerometer.

David Meyer 10:50:32 am

25+hours on a single charge

David Meyer 10:50:14 am

Looks like the Gear really does suit the Note 3 down to the ground. The Note is rather big for a phone, after all, so having a smart, tiny companion is a good move.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:50:12 am

And Gear can ran apps. All are optimized or specifically designed for Gear.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:49:31 am

Now that is handy! And a nice use of the S-Translate app that we saw on the Galaxy S 4.

David Meyer 10:48:51 am

Memographer will also translate foreign text for you. “The beginning of a new world of augmented reality.”

Kevin C. Tofel 10:48:40 am

Looks like you can quickly snap a pic: One swipe down and click!

David Meyer 10:48:04 am

The Gear’s camera is called Memographer. Good for quick reaction shots, I iimagine.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:47:44 am

So the camera is indeed on the front part of the strap. “Just point and shoot!”

David Meyer 10:46:18 am

Looks like the mic is built into the strap clip. We are now into proper Dick Tracy territory.

David Meyer 10:45:34 am

And the Gear will work as a phone! Raise your hand to answer a call…

Kevin C. Tofel 10:44:45 am

The press shot looks bulky but the watch doesn’t appear so on the wrist. Maybe it’s an optical illusion? Smart Relay sounds handy…

David Meyer 10:44:07 am

Smart Relay – receive email notification on the Gear, pick up Note 3 and the relevant email will just open. Teamwork!

Tom Krazit 10:43:33 am

Official Gear shot just released by Samsung

Kevin C. Tofel 10:42:39 am

And we just lost the Berlin livestream. Great timing!

David Meyer 10:42:31 am

It is!

David Meyer 10:42:14 am

Is that a camera in the strap?

Kevin C. Tofel 10:42:06 am

Definitely a touchscreen. Lots of swiping gestures to navigate.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:41:53 am

Indeed, but it looks better than the bulky prototype.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:41:28 am

Crafted with stainless steel. Hence the shiny bit I saw earlier. 6 different colors available.

David Meyer 10:41:28 am

Looks like the strap contains much of the smarts, but it does look odd

Kevin C. Tofel 10:40:32 am

“We wanted to make a wearable for tomorrow that’s designed for everybody.”

Kevin C. Tofel 10:39:52 am

Looks pretty thick for the display. Comes in multiple colors.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:39:17 am

Here comes the Galaxy Gear!

David Meyer 10:39:16 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:38:52 am

Mistry’s role is to think about what’s next for the company: Wearables.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:38:06 am

Time for Pranav Mistry, the head of Samsung’s “think tank” that brought the smart freedom concept. That we still know nothing about.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:37:25 am

Park just teased more about the “smart freedom” bit. He’ll be back later to explain.

David Meyer 10:36:50 am

“Magazine.” Straightforward. Not my thing, but it may appeal to many.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:36:48 am

Hmm. New Multi Vision feature that lets 2 or more Note 3 devices become one larger screen to share a video across all devices.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:36:07 am

And it will probably go over as big as Currents. Meaning: Not very. ;)

David Meyer 10:35:49 am

Oh hello, Samsung is doing its own take on Google Currents.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:35:31 am

This is becoming more desktop like with the 2 window approach. Lots of ways to interface between the two. And that’s why you’d need a bigger screen. This is all probably even more useful on the new Note 10.1.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:34:41 am

Pen Window feature lets you draw a box on the screen in an app and the Note 3 will bring up most used apps & features. Say you’re chatting and need a calculator. Draw a box in the chat app and choose calculator in a floating window.

Tom Krazit 10:33:39 am

David Meyer 10:33:32 am

Applause for the multiple chat windows thing

Kevin C. Tofel 10:33:27 am

Nice drag and drop feature for the multiwindow bit. Handy for the same app in 2 windows.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:32:51 am

The same app can be opened in 2 windows. Interesting. Good for chat, Park says.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:32:28 am

5.7-inch AMOLED screen on the Note 3, by the way. That helps with 2 apps at once, the Samsung multi-window mode.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:31:50 am

There’s a new Box feature that helps in multitasking. I loved the 2 screen multitasking on the Note 2. Angry Birds and WordPress for the win!

Kevin C. Tofel 10:31:08 am

New S-Note: this is an upgrade to the existing app. Multiple notebooks, better visual navigation. You can share these directly to Evernote; you get 12 months of premium Evernote with the Note 3.

David Meyer 10:30:39 am

Used to work in a hospital. My handwriting fit right in there.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:30:00 am

How’s your handwriting, David? ;)

Kevin C. Tofel 10:29:42 am

Yup, the S-Pen isn’t an afterthought or add-on now. It’s more important to the overall experience.

David Meyer 10:29:11 am

Have to say, the S-Pen is finally looking useful enough to make me consider getting a Note.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:29:02 am

Almost seems like a Samsung approach to Evernote. You can clip links, images, videos and more. Hmmm….

Kevin C. Tofel 10:28:25 am

You can label or tag clippings in the Scrapbook as well, making them easy to find later. Nice.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:27:49 am

Circling with the S-Pen saves content to the Scrapbook. A simple clipping from various apps.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:26:59 am

The Action Memo has some smarts. It recognizes the type of data you’ve written, say a phone number, and shows the appropriate contextual actions: place the call, update a contact, etc….

Kevin C. Tofel 10:26:06 am

Air Command is a button press away on the S-Pen, with 5 features: Action Memo, Screen Write, S-Finder, Scrapbook, Pen Window. You can access these at any time.

David Meyer 10:25:37 am

Tom Krazit 10:25:21 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:25:03 am

“S-Pen is now the key to unlock all the functions of the Galaxy Note 3″

Kevin C. Tofel 10:24:42 am

New S-Pen for “smart freedom” but Park is saving that for last. Write a number to make a call, write to search, etc…. are part of the software. Lots of radial menus, which is probably smart.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:23:47 am

Now David Park is on stage to explain more about the hardware.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:23:30 am

Indeed. Colors / customization seems to be a “thing” now… Moto X, new Apple products rumored to have colors, etc….

David Meyer 10:22:51 am

Interesting how much they’re pushing the different colors. This is not just being pitched at business users, by any stretch.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:22:10 am

6 more colors in metallic as well. The “Holiday Glam” line. Seriously.

Tom Krazit 10:21:59 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:21:48 am

9 other colors in a Flip Wallet for the Note 3. Where did they find fake pink cows?

David Meyer 10:21:26 am

Many fake cows died for Samsung’s ambition

Kevin C. Tofel 10:21:08 am

Sounds more premium than the prior models. Colors: Black, White and Pink. (Again, the rumors were right)

Kevin C. Tofel 10:20:31 am

Hmm… so it has a leather like back surface. Interesting!

Kevin C. Tofel 10:20:11 am

168 gram weight for the Note 3. Width is the same as the Note 2.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:19:46 am

More video: Now about design of the Note 3 and the S-Pen in particular. Those that haven’t used an S-Pen; it’s quite good. Pressure sensitivity, good palm rejection.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:19:06 am

BTW: Not everyone laughed, David. My kids call me “Phablet Man”

Kevin C. Tofel 10:18:40 am

What’s interesting to me is that even if Apple goes bigger with a phone, like Samsung has, the digital pen is another part of the puzzle. I don’t think Apple would do that.

David Meyer 10:18:13 am

When the first Note came out everyone laughed. Not so funny anymore.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:16:53 am

“Samsung was the pioneer of this large screened category” says Van Den Berg. That’s fair. I remember the first Galaxy Tab in 2010 and that first Galaxy Note “phablet” in 2011; current models are gaining traction, perhaps as people combine the use of 2 devices into one.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:15:37 am

I like the look of the watch more than I thought I would. Curious to see how thick (or thin) it is.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:15:08 am

Here comes the VP of Samsung Electronics Netherlands to the stage. Menno Van Den Berg.

David Meyer 10:14:50 am

David Meyer 10:14:41 am

Ditching the plastic look for the Note will be a win.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:14:19 am

Very light on specs for all the devices, but I know we’ll have hands on time and can get that information shortly.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:13:42 am

Note 3 and Gear launching in 149 countries on September 25.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:13:13 am

It’s aimed for productivity and shares the same DNA as the Galaxy Note 3.

David Meyer 10:13:04 am

David Meyer 10:12:49 am

Ha – “just one more thing”

Kevin C. Tofel 10:12:39 am

And there’s a new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet; the 2014 edition.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:12:20 am

It’s a “perfect companion to Galaxy Note 3″ he says. No mention yet about it working with non-Samsung devices….

Tom Krazit 10:11:50 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:11:46 am

Handsfree calling to make and receive calls, he says.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:11:20 am

Powered by Android 4.3 he says. Interesting because Samsung doesn’t mention Android too much in their products / events.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:10:52 am

And there’s the Galaxy Gear on Shin’s wrist; he just got a message.

David Meyer 10:10:34 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:10:33 am

Category 4 LTE with multiple bands in the Note 3.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:10:02 am

Have to say, it’s really hard to hear Shin in NYC. Major disappointment for us here.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:09:30 am

Security is big concern for folks; Shin is hitting the security features now, highlighting Samsung Knox, the company’s approach to that problem.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:08:24 am

It has a “warm textured touch.” And I see a bit of a bumpout for the rear camera sensor.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:07:41 am

Looks just like the leaks. Let’s see what they say about the specs and features.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:07:11 am

“You want to do more with your smartphone and you want a bigger screen.” he says. “Slimmer, lighter, faster, longer battery life.” And again with the video. It’s the….. wait for it…… Galaxy Note 3!

David Meyer 10:05:57 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:05:36 am

“We are here to launch the next evolution” says Shin. In case you didn’t know….

Kevin C. Tofel 10:05:00 am

“A number of intriguing products” are coming says Jason. And here comes J K Shin, President and CEO of Samsung.

David Meyer 10:04:37 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:04:07 am

Wait, was Jason the eccentric billionaire in the movie “Contact”? Nah… uncanny resemblance though!

Tom Krazit 10:03:29 am

Kevin C. Tofel 10:03:23 am

And now Jason is giving a shoutout to NYC. The crowd outside is roaring. The press inside is silent.

David Meyer 10:02:28 am

Kind of like Toyota doing a video about walking

Kevin C. Tofel 10:02:13 am

Jason Bradbury is on stage now. Guess he’s the MC?

Kevin C. Tofel 10:01:49 am

Ah, they’re making a “Note” book with stitched leather. Hmm. I already have a Moleskin.

Kevin C. Tofel 10:01:16 am

Looks like we’re starting with a video. Seems like most events are doing that these days. Lots of crafty things going on in the video.

David Meyer 10:00:03 am

And showtime

Kevin C. Tofel 10:00:03 am

BTW: the webcast is on a few massive screens in Times Square. You couldn’t avoid seeing it if you tried as you walked through the area.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:59:26 am

OK, the music is starting to put me to sleep. David, you may need to run with this one.

David Meyer 9:57:49 am

Tom Krazit 9:57:44 am

Kevin C. Tofel 9:57:18 am

Oh, and no “Galaxy Mix” of this track. ;)

Kevin C. Tofel 9:57:05 am

Looks like mostly a string ensemble with a few horns on stage in Berlin.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:56:40 am

Actually, this is pretty relaxing after watching the folks in Times Square jump around.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:56:01 am

I thought it. You said it. Besides, we gots class too. ;)

David Meyer 9:55:20 am

We’re classy like that

Tom Krazit 9:54:26 am

Kevin C. Tofel 9:53:59 am

So it’s classical music in Berlin? So much for Icona Pop in Germany…..

Kevin C. Tofel 9:53:03 am

And here in NY, we’re flipping over to the webcast of Berlin. Where…… it’s VERY quiet. Dark room with lots of people sitting there. Wave to us David!

Kevin C. Tofel 9:52:08 am

Back to what I saw: No flexible display from the looks of it, which is what we had heard. It actually didn’t look too big but I clearly need to see it closer up.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:50:06 am

Google Now just listened to the song and says it’s “I love it”. Wish I could have looked that up on say…. a smartwatch.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:48:51 am

Oh wait. I know this song too! I feel less old now. ;)

David Meyer 9:48:36 am

Ah, here’s the Icona Pop song I know – that one from some ad.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:48:23 am

So while Icona Pop is crooning, a quick thought on the glimpse of the Galaxy Gear. I saw a shiny silverish band and a much more polished product than the images that appeared on line a few days. Clearly, those were a prototype.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:47:13 am

Wow, it looks like standing room only in the Times Square area; lots of folks are taking time out of their day for this. That’s good because I’m sure it cost Samsung a bundle of cash for the space.

David Meyer 9:46:36 am

Thought they were lip-synching at first but it doesn’t seem to be the case. That’s something, I suppose.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:45:39 am

All joking aside, Icona Pop seems talented.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:45:18 am

So this seems like a bit of a filler for the crowd before the Berlin webcast starts in a few. BTW, the Beatles would have never done a “Galaxy mix”. Just sayin’….

David Meyer 9:44:45 am

Oh good, they’re performing a “Galaxy mix” of one of their songs.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:43:16 am

Being a Beatles fan, I’ll have to ask my kids who Icona Pop is.

The crowd in NYC seems to like them though!

Kevin C. Tofel 9:42:41 am

And it’s Icona Pop on stage in Times Square.

David Meyer 9:39:50 am

Kevin C. Tofel 9:37:44 am

There’s talk of “special guests” on the stage in Times Square. Any guesses?

David Meyer 9:37:39 am

I am finally in and seated. Big improvement on last year already — I got locked out that time…

Kevin C. Tofel 9:36:46 am

From a distance that is. I’ll get a closer look soon, I’m sure. And now I hear noise from Times Square, so we’re getting started now!

Kevin C. Tofel 9:35:51 am

Music just stopped. Gregory Li, new Pres of Samsung Telecom America is on stage.

He confirmed both Note 3 and Galaxy Gear (which he’s wearing). Looks nice.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:31:14 am

OK, Samsung let’s get this party started! Looks like there’s a crowd outside now.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:23:32 am

Outside of my Chromebook Pixel here, all I see is Macs by the way. Lots of Samsung phones to offset my Moto X too. I feel like such an outsider.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:22:30 am

So according to Samsung, we’re supposed to hear from executives in about 9 minutes, followed by the product extravaganza. Well, they didn’t say extravaganza but that’s what I expect.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:18:10 am

IT’S A FLEXIBLE SAMSUNG WEARABLE!!!! Oh, wait… never mind.

David Meyer 9:12:45 am

There must be at least 500 people here.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:11:15 am

So at this point, does Samsung have any surprises left? I’m thinking not but you never know.

Kevin C. Tofel 9:09:26 am

Times Square

Kevin C. Tofel 9:07:48 am

I’d estimate about 75 press folks here but a bunch more people (non-press) outside at the Samsung stage. Looks like Berlin is FAR more packed. Sorry David!

Kevin C. Tofel 9:06:40 am

There are Samsung Unpacked logos and ads all over Times Square but I see that Google made a strategic ad buy: I saw a gigantic Moto X electronic ad. ;)

David Meyer 9:06:02 am

Kevin C. Tofel 9:05:43 am

And hello from Times Square! (I feel like Ryan Seacrest) Samsung has taken over this part of NYC with a massive stage outside. They corralled us press folks in an overlooking building.

David Meyer 8:54:12 am

Hello from sunny Berlin. There’s a pretty massive crowd here…


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