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  (Source: Venture Beat)
Samsung's smartwatch has Android apps, but will it win customers to a long failing form factor?

The smartwatch form factor is quite possibly the most overhyped "next thing".  Technically the form factor isn't all that new -- Seiko (Holdings Corp. (TYO:8050) introduced smartwatches in the 1980s to the few who cared.  More recently Apple, Inc. (AAPL) tested these waters with the "wearable" sixth generation iPod Nano, as has Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) with the Android Smart Watch/Smart Watch 2.  

But in its relentless search for new moneymakers, the industry has once against dredged up this factor which CNN described has "a history of failure" -- and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) is eager to get a piece of the action, if it happens to (finally) succeed.

EV-Leaks, the same group that captured early photos of the Nokia Oyj. (OMX:NOK1VLumia 1020 weeks before its launch, has leaked images via Twitter of Samsung's upcoming smartwatch which appears to be branded the "Galaxy Gear".  
Galaxy Gear Leaks
The screenshots reveal that Samsung is leaning on a fresh new trick to sell consumers on its smartwatch -- NFC.  Using the same NFC technology that Samsung Galaxy Android smartphones use to bump each other transfering contact info and music, the new watch can sync up with your smartphone.

More images have since emerged courtesy of Venture Beat's Christina Farr.  These photos show a WiFi-equipped 3-inch device with a 4-megapixel camera on the strap, and a slide to unlock button on the side of the "watch" face.

Samsung Galaxy Gear (1)
Samsung Galaxy Gear
[Image Source: Venture Beat]

Reportedly the device will feature a 10+ hour battery life.  Some may be surprised at that, hoping for higher, but remember that while device has a much smaller screen than a smartphone, it also has a smaller rechargeable battery.  Battery life is an intrinsic struggle for the form factor and Samsung's device certainly leaves room for Apple's upcoming smartwatch to potential outperform the Gear.

Samsung Galaxy Gear
[Image Source: Venture Beat]

The Galaxy Gear is expected to air at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, which claims to be the largest consumer electronics show in the world.  Samsung is also expected to unveil a fresh "phablet" -- the Galaxy Note III -- at the show.

From the leaked shots it's clear that both "apps" and "Samsung apps" will be available, hinting the new smartwatch may be available for third party development.

Samsung's announcement will head off a potential iWatch announcement at Apple's rumored September 10 event.  So far no Apple product has NFC onboard.  While Apple VP Phil Schiller commented, "It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem," it's rumored that Apple may be preparing to copy Samsung with patent filings detailing a possible plan to add NFC and support for iTunes gifts.

Sources: EVLeaks on Twitter, Venture Beat



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10 hour battery?
By hughlle on 9/2/2013 7:51:53 AM , Rating: 2
I'll pass. These days the only reason i would wear a watch would be as a "last resort" option, say because my phone has run out of juice. That or because it was designed to deal with environmental extremes such as water sports etc. But for a delicate watch with 10 hours of battery, i'll just keep my phone in my pocket thanks.




RE: 10 hour battery?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/2/2013 9:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
I prefer my watches nice and simple. I have a Pulsar solar watch that's been going strong 12 years without a battery change.


RE: 10 hour battery?
By Samus on 9/2/2013 3:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
I think Pebble has it right.

7 days of connected use, 30 days with bluetooth turned off (just as a watchface.) The best part is the watch charges in under 30 minutes since the battery is a tiny 130mah.

However, the Agent smartwatch may 1up it with wireless charging and superior battery life, features, etc.

Unfortunately neither have a camera, which is really the best addition some of these rumored Samsung/Apple smartwatches have.


RE: 10 hour battery?
By othercents on 9/3/2013 8:11:34 AM , Rating: 2
There are many complaints that Pebble doesn't have that great of a display and doesn't do as much as it could. I could care less about the camera and in reality I'm going to do all my serious processing on the phone, but the ability to view at a glance who is calling me or what that text message was without having to pull my phone out is very useful. In that sense Pebble should work just fine.

Other


RE: 10 hour battery?
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/2/2013 9:29:22 AM , Rating: 2
Not for me thanks.

10 hrs on a battery is pretty lame. There are many places Android works well and some places it simply does not.

PDA, tablets, media boxes for tv works well, watches just... don't.


RE: 10 hour battery?
By GulWestfale on 9/2/2013 10:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
yep, the battery life kills it for me. if they say 10 hours, then in actual use it will last maybe 5 or 6. they need to get this up to at least 18 hours so you can reliably wear it on a long day.

also, a 3" screen? wow, that is almost as big as an iphone hahahaha


RE: 10 hour battery?
By retrospooty on 9/2/2013 11:00:15 AM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine any scenario where I would want any SmartWatch from any vendor even if it had a 10 day battery. I don't see a lot of people sounding very excited about it either. I think OEM's are more excited than customers on this one, hoping for new revenue streams.


RE: 10 hour battery?
By bah12 on 9/3/2013 10:48:36 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I liken this to the 3D tv craze, all OEM hype but very very tiny niche customer base. Just everyone trying to do the next big thing, but come on watches have been dead for years now.


RE: 10 hour battery?
By ritualm on 9/2/2013 6:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
Not just the "up to 10 hours battery life". This requires TouchWiz. It's absolutely great for those who haven't flashed a downsized/custom ROM on their Galaxy phones/tablets/phablets.

A camera on the watch. Hah. That's going to introduce many unforeseen usability and security issues.


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