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7 reasons you shouldn't buy the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch - and 2 you should

Al Sacco | Sept. 11, 2013
The Gear smartwatch grabbed my attention but it was for all the wrong reasons.

5) Developer Support for Galaxy Gear Not Guaranteed
Today, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch doesn't do all that much. Dick Tracy watch, it is not. The Gear lets you check notifications; automatically unlock your Note 3 when within a certain range; route phone calls to another Bluetooth device; find a misplaced device, using alarm tones, vibrations or the camera flash light, and keep track of steps taken using a built-in pedometer.

That's pretty much it. The idea is to eventually provide developers with the necessary APIs to build apps that broaden the Gear's functionality and make it more valuable. But Gear's success, or lack thereof, depends largely on the apps these developers build. If developers don't take to Gear the way Samsung wants them to, the device could quickly be retired to the Gadget Graveyard.

Samsung will undoubtedly put lots of time and even more money into courting developers. It's holding its first large-scale developers' conference in San Francisco this fall, and Gear is sure to take center stage. But buying a Gear smartwatch before it gains momentum among developers might not be the smartest move, unless you're buying it strictly for style or you're quick to part with $300 or more. (In that case, you might want to buy two Gear smartwatches - one for each wrist.)

6) Galaxy Gear's Wrist Strap Cannot be Replaced
The Gear smartwatch is all one piece. Unlike your average wristwatch, you cannot replace or swap out Gear's wristband. Samsung Gear is available in a variety of shiny, bright colors, but you're stuck with the one color you initially pick. That's unfortunate for the fashion-conscious buyer - but, again, if you're buying the Gear for style reasons, you may have bigger issues than a non-replaceable smartwatch band.

Galaxy Gear's camera is embedded in its band, and it connects to the device's body directly through the strap. If you're someone who beats on your gadgets or your watches, or you're particularly active, this could be a concern. If your Gear band breaks or is damaged, you're out of luck; you cannot replace it.

7) The Smartwatch Concept Is a Dud, and Gear Doesn't Change That
The Galaxy Gear isn't the first smartwatch by any means. The Pebble immediately comes to mind, and I know plenty of Pebble users love their smartwatches. Despite the hype, I just don't see the point. I admit, there's some value in checking notifications on a watch face so you don't have to constantly reach in your pocket to grab a phone. But that value is limited; you still have to grab the phone if you want to respond to a message. (That, or start speaking to the tiny smartwatch speaker in the smartwatch, like a crazy person.)


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