Samsung announces ‘smartwatch’

Wearable Android device to be released.

Samsung has jumped into the wearable tech market with the release of the Galaxy Gear, a ‘smartwatch’ that will be an accessory to the already popular Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The company plans to release the device at the end of the month and will be watched by many other rivals, such as Apple, who may be hoping to jump on the smartwatch wagon.

In order to get the most out of the Galaxy Gear, users will need to already have a Samsung smartphone. The Galaxy Gear comes with a price tag of $299, though whether or not the price is too steep remains to be seen.

Via Bluetooth wireless, the Galaxy Gear can do a number of things. The smartwatch gives notifications of incoming calls while allowing the user to have a conversation through the built-in speaker and microphones. One can also control the watch by voice commands, and the watch can be used to control media playback on a paired smartphone. The watch can also automatically lock a Samsung phone if it is more than one and a half metres away, and will have the option to find the device should the phone be misplaced. Lastly, there are fitness apps, and of course, a built-in camera for when you just can’t get to your phone fast enough. The camera takes 1.9 megapixel photos and 720p video, but storage is limited to four gigabytes, so apps and footage will fill up that space quickly.

Even with an 800 Mhz processer inside with 512MB of RAM, the Galaxy Gear hasn’t run as smoothly as the price tag would suggest. Early reviewers have noticed a lag when navigating around the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS and when opening apps. Apart from the power button, everything is done  through a touch screen. The gadget does not come with an instruction manual, implying that the gadget is user friendly. The biggest question mark is the battery life. The Galaxy Gear has a 315 mAh battery and uses low energy Bluetooth 4.0 so we will not know how successful the battery life will be until release.

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