Samsung has made the Galaxy Gear, their first smartphone official with a beautiful 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen, and a built-in camera. Wrist watches, smart or otherwise, are simply not for everyone -- there are more smartphone users in the world, many times over, than there will ever be smartwatch owners. Despite the limited market for such a device, however, Samsung's decided it's time to join in on the fun.
The world's top handset maker hopes the Galaxy Gear will boost the appeal of its range of Android-powered smartphones, as it battles to maintain its supremacy in the rapidly saturating high-end mobile market against arch rival Apple Inc. Its launch, timed to coincide with the start of the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, also signals that the South Korean giant is more than just a fast follower in innovation behind Apple, which is preparing to release a new iPhone next week but is yet to go public with any wearable devices.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear comes with a 320×320 pixels screen resolution on the 1.63 inch Super AMOLED display, and the camera lies on the strap of the Gear. It surely doesn’t capture any high-res photos but a camera on the wrist watch is more than what one would want to have. The Galaxy Gear can capture 10-second videos at 720p quality, and it has got a 1.9 megapixel BSI sensor and an auto-focus lens and will connect to Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 3 smartphone via wireless Bluetooth technology. It will make calls, display messages, record videos and snap photos, all while the user's phone stays in their pocket or handbag.
There’s an 800 MHz processor included in the smartwatch, and it comes with Atooma, a platform which powers the smartness of the Galaxy Gear.
But one secret not many knew that brains behind the Galaxy Gear is Pranav Mistry, who now heads the Think Tank team at Samsung’s Research America division. For those who may recall, Mistry’s claim to fame is his SixthSense technology, which was also documented in a TED talk that has received over 1.5 million views.
Mistry, a Research Assistant and PhD candidate at MIT’s Media Lab, was born in Palanpur in Gujarat. He completed his masters of design from IIT Mumbai and followed it up with another masters degree in media arts and sciences from MIT. He also worked as a UX researcher with Microsoft.
The Galaxy Gear is a good beginning for Mistry of making his concept of sixth sense in technology a reality. The first generation smartwatch has some nice touches that one can instantly recognize to be coming directly from Mistry. The Galaxy Gear has sensors that can decipher if the user is moving the watch close to the ear in the event of an incoming call and automatically receives the call.
The connectivity options that you get in the Gear includes Bluetooth® v 4.0 ＋ BLE, and the sensors included are Accelerometer and Gyroscope. There’s a 512MB RAM that would make things happen with ease, and the storage that is included in the wearable gadget is 4GB. The 315 mAh battery is a Li-ion one just like what we see in the smartphones, and we won’t be able to comment on the battery life although the company might claim a lot.
It has up to 70 dedicated applications including some basic fitness apps such as a step-counting passometer, although Samsung hopes this number will grow as developers get on board. Battery life, a key challenge for most wearable devices, has improved to over 27 hours under Samsung's normal-use tests.
There’s S Voice in the Galaxy Gear, where you make all the voice commands and control even some of the smartphone functions through the Gear and you don’t need to touch the smartphone at all, as you get to make the calls and talk directly through the smartwatch.
Samsung will also launch the Galaxy Note 3 alongside the Galaxy Gear watch on 17 Sept, with an expected price of Rs. 18000. also to be available by the 25th of September.
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