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Should Apple be worried about the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartphone?

Karen Haslam | Sept. 9, 2013
Will Apple's iWatch be better than the Galaxy Note Gear - without a doubt. Does it matter that it's not here yet - no.

That's not to say that Samsung's Galaxy Gear doesn't need an accompanying smartphone. For now it will work in conjunction with only one Samsung smartphone - the Galaxy Note 3 and when it is connected via Bluetooth with that Samsung smartphone it will be able to send and receive calls.In the case of the Galaxy Gear you will be able to make calls, but you will have to hold the watch up to your ear in order to hear the person calling.

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch will also be able to display texts and emails from the phone as well as run a bunch of specially-designed apps. You'll be able to reply to messages via a voice-to-text feature, we haven't been able to test that yet.

Voice recognition is an essential feature for a smartwatch and Apple already has it under its hat. With such a small screen it will be essential that the device has the ability to accurately understand and transcribe your voice input. Siri will provide that technology via the iPhone in your pocket.

The Gear also has a 1.9 megapixel camera integrated into the strap a built-in microphone and a speaker - it can even shoot video so you can pretend to be a detective (beyond that we're not sure what the point is). All this makes it rather chunky. We think it's going to be a bit too big for small wrists.

Bigger or smaller screens?
Would a smaller screen be better? Given the race among smartphone manufacturers right now to make bigger and better screens it seems contradictory that we would start to move towards even smaller screens. But if a smartwatch is only usable if it has a bigger screen then why not use the smartphone in your pocket?

This leads us onto the big question. Who even wants a smartwatch? What is the point of wearing a second screen on your wrist? Do we need our watch to tell us any more than the time? Perhaps its more about what the watch can tell your smartphone about you.

We think that the smartphone of the future will be a device that stays in your pocket acting as a server for your wearable devices, be they a watch, glasses, a heart rate monitor, other health related sensor, or even a chip in your brain.

These wearable devices will become like personal assistants, anticipating your every need, but they will be powered by your smartphone.

If anyone is going to make this work it will be Apple - the only technology company that makes the hardware as well as the software.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear is supposed to hit shops on 25 September and will cost $299 - no UK price has been announced.


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