But Ramon Llamas, an analyst at research firm IDC, said many things have to go right for smartwatches to succeed. Llamas said the devices need to offer a range of useful applications that justify carrying around – and charging – another digital device.
“It can’t just be notifications of how many incoming messages you have,” he said. “Health applications seem to be the low-hanging fruit.”
For starters, the Gear will work with sporting and fitness apps such as RunKeeper, which tracks runs and other workouts.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi believes it ought to do more, such as monitor a user’s pulse and other health information. Other sensors, she said, could also authenticate a user’s identity when making payments or detect locations so users could share their whereabouts with their friends.
“The watch is smart, but not as smart as it could be,” Milanesi said. “It doesn’t look like Samsung pushed the envelope as much as I hope Apple will. Right now, it looks like (Gear) will just provide you with an extra screen that is more convenient to look at than to have to take out a larger device. I don’t think that’s what consumers want.”
The Gear goes on sale in the United States and Japan with prices starting at $299. That is about twice the price of currently available devices such as the Sony SmartWatch and the Pebble, which was funded through more than $10 million pledged by individuals on fundraising website Kickstarter. Another startup, also funded through Kickstarter, hopes to launch a standalone watch called Omate TrueSmart that comes with built-in cell connectivity.
Samsung Electronics Co.’s smartwatch uses Google’s Android operating system, just like many of the phones and tablets made by the South Korean electronics company.<< previous 1 2 3 next >>