It’s been one of the tech industries worst kept secrets but at IFA 2013 in Berlin, Samsung formally unveiled the Galaxy Gear smartwatch,
Connecting to to an Android smartphone via Bluetooth, it is around the size of a regular watch with a 1.63-inch AMOLED (320 x 320 pixels) touchscreen display and 1.9-megapixel ‘Memographer’ camera on the side of the device for capturing snaps with a tap.
Weighing a little under 75g, it provides much of the functionality of an Android device without needing to actually touch your phone. Core to the experience is the voice control, which will allow you to carry out all the usual functions like switching music on, making or receiving calls and sending messages, as well as operating apps. The device is also pre-loaded with Samsung specific apps, specifically targeting health and fitness fans with the inclusion of RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal.
The Galaxy Gear also serves as a wristwatch and includes several face options that create the opportunity for users to personalise their watch face. It will come preloaded with 10 different clock options and more choices will be downloadable via Samsung Apps.
The Galaxy Gear experience can be further personalised by selecting from six colours that will be available at launch: Jet Black, Mocha Grey, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green (see picture gallery below).
Says Samsung Mobile CEO, JK Shin: “Samsung Galaxy Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives, and bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology.
“Samsung Galaxy Gear frees users from the need to constantly check their smart devices while maintaining connections. It provides what we call “smart freedom” by allowing users to choose how, why, when and where they are connected.”
The Samsung Galaxy Gear will be launched in more than 140 countries around the world from September 25th, 2013. Prices yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile Sony’s rival Smartwatch 2 goes on sale later this month priced £149 (179 Euros), while Apple, Google and Microsoft – which this week acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business – are among those rumoured to be working on similar devices.
A recent report by research analysts Canalys claims 500,000 smart watches will be sold this year, with that figure rising to 5 million in 2014. At IFA 2013, the Korean company also announced a new Galaxy Note 3 “phablet” and Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to rival the iPad.