8 things you didn’t know about Samsung’s Galaxy Gear

IMG_1195Samsung’s smartwatch Galaxy Gear has hit the shops. In the beginning of September, the device was presented during the IFA and met with predominantly positive feedback. Needless to say we have already covered the smartwatch extensively, but here’s a brief overview of the 8 most important advantages the Gear has to offer!

1. More than 70 apps upon launch

In the hours after its launch in Berlin, a lot of people wrote about the design and feature set of the smartwatch. Less emphasis was placed on the fact that Samsung aims to make available no less than 70 apps for the smartwatch.

2. The same sensors as your smartphone

The small device packs a lot of power: the Galaxy Gear has been equipped with the same sensors you will find in your smartphone. Although a compass is lacking, the device does feature an accelerometer and gyroscope.

3. APIs

The Gear runs a special version of Android 4.3 and, as discussed, will offer various apps. Besides the introduction of a new format of Android app, Samsung plans to make available a completely proprietary API for the Gear’s hardware. This is to simplify the use of the camera, sensors and connectivity by apps.

4. The wristband is a technological tour de force

The smartwatch looks rather chunky, and the 1.9MP camera has not exactly been elegantly processed into the Gear’s wristband. But make no mistake: the flexible band represents a technological tour de force that not only incorporates a camera, but a speaker as well. A drawback is that this does make it difficult to replace the wristband in case of a defect or if you feel the urge for a fashion fix.

5. Charging with a tap on the touchscreen

Because of the energy-consuming features of Samsung’s smartwatch, it will be necessary to charge it almost on a daily basis. This is done using a special docking station, which in fact transforms your watch into a sort of alarm clock. Charging the device using the docking station is a relatively simple process: all you need to do is place your smartwatch on the stand and tap the touchscreen. Using NFC technology, your watch will make a connection with the stand and start charging and synchronizing.

6. You can ‘suppress’ a phone call by placing your hand over the watch

At the moment it is still only possible to link the Galaxy Gear to a Galaxy Note 3. However, in the near future you will be able to link the device to various other smartwatches by the Korean brand. This will mean call notifications on your phone will also be visible on the display of your watch, so you can directly determine whether you want to answer the call or not.

You can decline or ‘suppress’ a call by placing the palm of your hand over the watch. The Galaxy Gear will recognize this signal and transfer the caller to your voice mail.

7. Samsung aims to develop more wearable technology

During the IFA, the Samsung team, represented by Ryan Bidan, Product Marketing Director for Samsung Mobile, was clear about one thing: the Gear is only a first step towards a broad range of new wearables that the Korean brand intends to launch. “Will there be additional Gear devices and wearables in our future? Sure, essentially you could put it anywhere. It’s a screen with some tech behind it,” explains Bidan.

8. Why this smartwatch might make it big

Before, during and after Samsung’s announcement, people engaged in long discussions on the Galaxy Gear’s chances of success. For now it seems the market players are even, because although the Gear is in many ways far ahead of Microsoft’s Spot or Sony’s SW2, its price, design and actual feature set still seem rather prohibitive to massive success.

The Galaxy Gear currently retails at $299, £299 or €299. Yup!