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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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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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