Samsung Smartwatch ($299) Appears Right on Time

As expected today at the IFA conference in Berlin, Samsung announced its anticipated Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The device, which can make calls when connected to a phone via bluetooth, is currently only compatible with the new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy 10.1. Both were introduced today and both run Android 4.3, which is required.

More Galaxy phones will be updated to 4.3 in the near future, thus making them compatible with the Gear watch. Below are some of the relevant details and specs for the device:

  • Availability: September 25 outside US; October for US market
  • Price: $299 
  • Battery life: day of "regular use"  
  • Voice control: Gear runs S Voice, powered by Nuance
  • Screen: 1.63-inch Super AMOLED
  • Camera: 1.9-megapixel (can also take video) 
  • Apps: 70 partner apps to start with more promised
  • Processor: 800MHZ
  • Storage/RAM: 4GB of storage; 512MB of RAM

The $299 price tag may be costly to some consumers, especially given the fact that you've got to have a Samsung smartphone to fully utilize it.

My first (entirely vicarious) impression of the watch, which comes in multiple colors, is that the UI and overall design are not as elegant as they might be. That's especially true of the UI. The camera is awkwardly positioned on the band as well. 

It will be interesting to see how all this lines up with Apple's iWatch (especially pricing), which is expected to be announced on September 10. Google is also working on a smartwatch reportedly.