Photo by Gero Breloe for Associated Press
Samsung officially threw its hat into the smartwatch ring on Wednesday when co-CEO J.K. Shin revealed the “Galaxy Gear” at the IFA consumer-electronics conference in Berlin. The $299 device, which will begin shipping in 140 countries on September 25, isn’t designed to replace your phone, however. Rather, Shin described it as the “perfect companion” to the Galaxy Note III smartphone, which Samsung also unveiled, along with the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
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Shim brandished his own Gear, which runs on Google’s Android operating system and features a 1.63-inch screen, a 1.9-megapixel camera, and a pedometer. The strap is available in several colors, including black, “oatmeal beige,” and “wild orange.”
The Gear, which runs on Google’s Android OS, features a 1.63-inch screen, a 1.9-megapixel camera, and a pedometer.
Pranav Mistry, Samsung’s director of research, later described how Samsung set out to create “something out of sci-fi,” with hands-free features that would let users keep their phones in their pockets. The Gear uses S-Voice, Samsung’s version of Siri, for voice commands, such as making phone calls, dictating email, and checking the weather.
“We wanted to make a wearable of tomorrow that is designed for everyone,” Mistry explained. “I can proudly say Galaxy Gear is tomorrow’s state of the art.”
Samsung isn’t the only company coveting the real estate on our wrists. Sony released an Android-powered SmartWatch last April. The Pebble, a smartphone-compatible timepiece that raised a record-smashing $10 million on Kickstarter, began shipping in January. Even Apple is rumored to be developing an “iWatch.”