Samsung Galaxy Gear unveiled, a shot in the arm for the smartwatch market
It's official - the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch has been revealed on stage at the company's Unpacked event on the eve of the IFA trade show in Berlin. It's the Korean giant's attempt at putting a shot in the arm of the smartwatch market and it's all-aboard the 2013 wearable tech train.
The Galaxy Gear is a 1.6-inch 320 x 320 resolution OLED companion device that can be used - no shock here - as a watch. It is designed mainly, however, to integrate with your smart devices, namely the Android smartphone that's likely to be in your pocket. If, that is, you have big pockets an a Galaxy Note 3 - at launch that looks to be the only device with proper support.
The Gear will alert you of incoming calls, texts, emails and alerts. And as it's strapped to your wrist you'll know your phone's ringing whichever room you may have left it in.
An auto-lock feature ensures the Gear will function to control your smartphone only when within a 1.5-metre distance. It can communicate further away than that, but will be locked-down for security. And if your phone goes walkabouts then the inclusion of a "find my phone" feature takes on a new level of coolness, direct from the wrist.
If you want to look extra special by shouting towards your wrist then you can communicate to the Galaxy Gear via Samsung's S Voice. It doubles as a speaker and microphone so you can keep on chatting if your hands are full. It's hands-free, strapped directly to your wrist.
There's an 1.9-megapixel camera on board to capture still images or 720p HD video, while an accelerometer and gyroscope also feature alongside 4GB of internal storage. A variety of features apps - such as MyFitness Pal - will make best use of such features.
Under the hood you won't find a classic Swiss watch mechanism: instead the Gear runs using an 800MHz processor along with 512MB of RAM to handle all the goodies you'll throw at it. Not ultra-powerful like current smartphones then, but it's a companion device - so makes sense.
Samsung is really hammering home that this isn't the usual Galaxy plastic fare. In a press release comparing it to luxury jewellery it's said to "go well with any outfit", and "maintain comfort at all times".
Whether the Gear will well and truly match-up with any outfit, given that it comes available in some wildly named colours - Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green - is up for debate. But, fashion aficionados, that sounds like a broad palette to play with to us.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear has no price as yet, but there's not long to wait before it hits the shelves: scrawl 25 September into those diaries as that's when it will be released to the world.
Wearable tech just got a major injection, whether you happen to love or loathe the look of the Gear, with a major manufacturer behind such a product it looks to be the next big thing. It's just a shame it's so closed-down with device support at the moment, something we hope will expand. Apple, the ball's in your court.