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Price slashing begins in windup to second generation Gear launch

Launched last year, Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KRX:005935) (KRX:005930) Galaxy Gear saw a high price ($299 USD) and mixed reviews.  Sales were okay, but not great, and many questioned whether smartwatches were truly "the next big thing" as some had suggested.
 
Samsung, which has been making smartwatches ever since it released a phone-equipped watch back in 1999, still believes in the form factor and has said it will release a second-generation Gear alongside the Galaxy S5 in April.
 
With that device expected to be unveiled late this month at the 2014 Mobile World Convention (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung has begun cut the prices on its previous generation model to reduce stock.

First-generation Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

The watch launched in late Sept. 2013, priced at $299 USD, but was marked up as high as ~$355 USD in some regions (e.g. India where the price was RS22,290).  Last month, Samsung cut the price to around $305 USD in some regions (e.g. RS18,290 in India) and as little as $270 USD in the U.S.

Samsung watches

Now it's finalized yet another cut, which reduces the price to ~$245 USD in the pricier regions (e.g. RS15,290 in India).  In the U.S. a price cut has not been announced, but in coming weeks the price of the half-year-old device is expected to dip to around $210-220 USD.
 
The wearables market is growing, if not in the leaps and bounds some expected. 
 
Last year, Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) $299 USD Mirasol display-equipped Toq smartwatch and the $199 USD SmartWatch 2 from Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) battled with the Gear for market dominance.  None of the products sold in large numbers, but the Gear was the most successful, possibly cracking the million unit mark in late Dec. 2013 (Samsung noted 800k had been sold by mid-November).  The Gear also reportedly had a high return rate, so take that figure with a grain of salt.
 
Rumors are still circulating that 2014 will bring an Apple, Inc. (AAPL) "iWatch", a Google Inc. (GOOG) Nexus watch (manufactured by a third party partner), and a Microsoft Corp. (MSFTSurface smartwatch.  Don't count on any of these devices, however, as we heard those same rumors in 2013 with nary a product from the mobile platform market's big three.
 

Apple is rumored to be developing a smartwatch. [Image Source: Lunatic]
 
There are many factors at play, but one thing's for sure -- Samsung will need to expand the app selection and make a better pitch for people to take the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch seriously.

Source: Samsung India



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I have a Note 3 and want a smart watch but...
By CZroe on 2/4/2014 9:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Note 3 and want a smart watch but I wouldn't consider the Galaxy Gear unless it were priced low enough to be a curiosity-filling impulse purchase, like when I bought a Sony Ericsson LiveView for $25.

Though the Live View was junk, I LOVED my Sony Ericsson MBW-150 smartwatch from 2007 until the display faded and I couldn't read it. Even without the display it makes an awesome smart watch. Why? Because it's a watch FIRST. It has physical buttons and no one knows it's a gizmo. There was a year that I worked in a position that introduced me to new truck drivers every day and every single one that was a "watch guy" took notice and commented about how good it looked. None knew what else iw was capable of until I pointed it out.

Even without the display, it was perfect for my motorcycle because I could control the music with my gloves on. Thankfully, my in-helmet Bluetooth kit would give me the caller ID. ;) Buttons for gloved operation is something the Sony Ericsson Live View and Sony SmartWatch lack. Even Pebble seems like a step backwards with it's plastic housing, odd design, and appearance as something more than a watch. The battery live of the MBW-150 was even longer than the Pebble! Why have we stepped so far back?!

All I want is caller ID, physical buttons, music controls, vibration for notifications and disconnect (proximity alarm), and a normal watch appearance. No one has done this since.




By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 10:41:10 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Why have we stepped so far back?!


Have you seen the hardware in the Galaxy Gear and the gorgeous (for a watch) display? It's the first version, I'm sure battery life will improve with each iteration.

Comparing the Galaxy Gear to some junk Ericsson watch is kind of missing the point.

The Galaxy Gear is not a standalone "watch", it's a smartphone companion device.

quote:
All I want is caller ID, physical buttons, music controls, vibration for notifications and disconnect (proximity alarm), and a normal watch appearance. No one has done this since.


LOL! You don't ask for much, do ya? :P


RE: I have a Note 3 and want a smart watch but...
By CZroe on 2/4/2014 11:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly: I don't ask for much and yet I STILL don't get it. It's a missed opportunity.

Yes, I have seen the hardware and the "gorgeous" display and still consider those to be faults. You are wearing a compromise.

Why do we need fragmented and redundant storage on our wrist when there is more (expandable!) storage in our pocket that it should tap into? Why do we need under-volted down-clocked processing power on our wrist that still runs dead when we have much more power in our pockets with a huge battery that it can tap into? Even as a do-everything gizmo, they are STILL "doeng it rong." It doesn't have to be a secondary/remote display, but it shouldn't be a whiz-bang "do everything not quite as well as your smartphone" device either. No current product gets that balance right and Galaxy Gear is as wrong as they come.

The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 was $500 when it launched and would have been worth every penny if the OLED didn't fade in a matter of months (OLED was still new then). It wasn't some "junk" watch. It was even designed by Fossil.

I want something that alerts me when I leave my phone (disconnect/proximity notice).

I want something which limits unnecessarily removing my phone from my pocket only to see that the notification wasn't something I intended to use my phone in response to (needs a minimal display).

I want something that allows discrete call notification/screening/rejection (needs Caller ID, vibration notification, and the appearance of being a normal watch).

I want something that permits operation with a gloved hand (needs physical buttons).

With my phone on silent in my pocket, I screen a call and people just think I checked the time. You screen a call on your Galaxy Gear and people see it as being every bit as faux pas as checking your phone at the table/meeting/conversation.

I get all the primary benefits and I'm never in danger of leaving my phone anywhere or missing a silent notification (I can miss a vibration in my pocket but not directly against my skin on my wrist). I can make calls with a Bluetooth headset and have no need for speakerphone on my wrist.

Having storage on your write can only do one thing: Be redundant when things are automatically copied or be fragmented when you need to find a file or a picture or something. I don't desire either of those things. Like batter and CPU, it's also limited by the portability constraints. No matter how many generations and iterative improvements we go through, it will always be a fraction of what the device in your pocket is capable of right up until it eliminates the device in your pocket by replacing all of its functionality.

At this point, I don't want a cut-down semi-capable smart phone on my wrist. I want a smart WATCH that taps into and complements the functionality of my smartphone. Get that right and you get my business.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 11:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
Uhh okay, not sure how to respond. I hope you get what you want? I was being sarcastic, no such thing exists lol.

quote:
The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 was $500 when it launched and would have been worth every penny if the OLED didn't fade in a matter of months (OLED was still new then). It wasn't some "junk" watch.


Sure it wasn't junk, it just had sh*t quality control like EVERY Sony Ericsson product I've ever owned...


By CZroe on 2/5/2014 12:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot one "want."

I want something that is easily visible in daylight (needs physical buttons).

Sure it exists: the MBW series. The problem is one of availability (EOL).

As far as quality control: I agree. The charger had a bad connection on my MBW-200 and my 150 would show condensation inside despite being waterproof. All OLEDs fade, certain colors faster than others, so I can't fault them too much. OLED was also brand new technology at the time so the fading was probably worse then. I still LOL when I hear about their latest water-resistant phone because their old Gingerbread tablet was recalled for not being waterproof as advertised (OOPS!). I also used an Xperia PLAY 4G (R800at) for two years and had to buy numerous replacement parts over the years (it's practically not even the same phone). Everything from the barely-used OEM micro USB cable going bad to cracks in the battery door from swapping batteries to *promised* features that never materialized (Swype keyboard, panorama photos, 720p video recording, Ice Cream Sandwich, etc) to even the slide cable going bad despite almost never playing games on it. I likes that it was easy to repair, especially because I broke enough parts on my own (digitizer twice). ;)


By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 2:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
Of course Tony, of course.

*pats head condescendingly*


By xti on 2/5/2014 1:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
honestly it looks awful and its bulky. Men's watches are supposed to be somewhat bulky but this misses on looks.

not that apple or anyone else has it figured out from a design point of view, i just dont feel like the GG is it.


RE: I have a Note 3 and want a smart watch but...
By ritualm on 2/4/2014 3:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Have you seen the hardware in the Galaxy Gear and the gorgeous (for a watch) display?

The entire package sucks. Not something I'd love to use on a daily basis, and it can't be a daily driver either because the GG lasts less than half a day with any actual usage.

I don't want a bloody full-featured smartphone-level computer on my wrist. Like CZroe, I'd love to have a smartwatch that does what I need with the appearance of a typical watch. The Pebble (disclaimer: I'm a backer) has most of them nailed down, but doesn't look like a watch proper. Galaxy Gear? I'd have used that as target practice with my Mossberg.
quote:
Comparing the Galaxy Gear to some junk Ericsson watch is kind of missing the point.

You ARE missing the point.
quote:
The Galaxy Gear is not a standalone "watch", it's a smartphone companion device.

Which is what a lot of us DO NOT WANT. Damned thing gobbles too much precious battery power doing nothing at all.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 4:02:08 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Which is what a lot of us DO NOT WANT.


Well me neither, then again I don't wear watches.

However the Gear sold way more than anyone could have predicted. So get used to them I guess, they're not going anywhere.

Just stupid how every time the Galaxy Gear comes up, some old fuck cries about how it's not an analog watch, or it's not some obsolete "smart" watch that died off years ago.

This is the kind of stuff people would post about the smartphone too. How did that work out for them?


By CZroe on 2/5/2014 11:44:52 AM , Rating: 2
The Galaxy Gear would have sold EVEN more. People sharing my opinion also contribute to the masses it could appeal to. The vast majority of its owners bought it for the same features a device like I described also has.

The real problem is that there is very little ground covered between simple notification devices and full-blown wrist computing. The industry should be ashamed to focus so much on wearables and still miss this. So far, only Pebble comes close. It's frustrating that a 2006 product that few even seem to know about got the balance better, but I will settle for a Pebble when the price is right.

There's no shortage of Bluetooth wearables now that look like watches, but they all lack something important. Martian has no dedicated playback controls. Citizen has no display. Casio has no availability (plus, the G-Shock is hideous). MBW-150 clone lacks music controls. There's nothing fully functional and watch-like between a Fit Bit and a Pebble. Because I'm not too hung up on it being watch-like, I will eventually get a Pebble or Pebble Steel.

I'm not saying that I would rather the Gear not exist, I'm saying that I'd rather it exist in addition to something else. I'm not totally against having a gizmo that doesn't even pretend to be a watch strapped to my wrist. As I pointed out before, they are even getting that wrong. What worries me is that Apple will probably be the first to make a wearable that's worth giving up the stealth watch form factor and that would be a huge missed opportunity for everyone else. The Gear should be something like a Chromecast in that it isn't quite a remote display nor a full-function device. My ideal device would tap into the cloud/phone for full-featured use and could even be a remote/secondary display if the particular app required it (APIs for most other things).

Get cracking!


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