Earlier today I reported that AT&T(s t) and T-Mobile(s tmus) will both be offering the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear in October. Verizon’s(s vz) preorder page went live this morning, and it too will start shipping devices by October 10. A 32GB Galaxy Note 3 costs $299.99 on Verizon with a two-year contract, the same price as AT&T. The Galaxy Gear costs $299.99 as well, but you can only buy it as part of a $599.98 bundle with the Galaxy Note 3.
Usually the point of a bundle is to save money, right? But at $299.99 for the Galaxy Note 3 on its own, and a price of $299.99 for the Galaxy Gear elsewhere, it looks like Verizon’s bundle is less promotional than it is practical.
Think about it. Since the Galaxy Gear will only work with the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition at launch, why would Verizon sell you a smartwatch you can’t fully use without a companion phone? It’s not like wireless carriers are making the bulk of their money on device sales.
Then again, the Galaxy Gear is not a carrier-specific product. It doesn’t have a cellular radio, so theoretically you can pair the same Galaxy Gear to a Note 3 on all four different major U.S. carriers. So if Verizon doesn’t sell you one, someone else can.
Does this mean that if you don’t buy a Galaxy Gear on Verizon from the get-go you won’t be able to purchase one separately down the line? I contacted Verizon to see if it plans to sell the Galaxy Gear a la carte but haven’t received an answer yet.
And come to think of it, while AT&T, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular have all confirmed that they will be selling the Galaxy Gear, no carrier has made clear whether it will be offered as a standalone product. T-Mobile has given it a $299.99 price, but right now its signup page only has information about the Galaxy Note 3.
Samsung has said that it plans to add Galaxy Gear support to some of its current smartphones like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S 3 and Galaxy Note 2. And reports have said that Samsung will make the watch compatible with non-Samsung smartphones at some point in the future as well. But for now, it looks like the only way to get one might also force you to buy a new phone.