Samsung Unveils New Smartwatch That Makes Calls


Mistry demonstrated the calling function on the Gear by holding it up to his ear and talking into a microphone hidden in the watch. The watch then relays the call to a smartphone over a built-in Bluetooth connection.

The strap, which comes in six colors, holds a basic camera that can be used to shoot photos and video. When linked to a smartphone or tablet, the Gear lets people check emails and Facebook updates from their wrists.

Samsung said replies are possible through voice dictation. Voice commands can also be used for such tasks as setting alarms, creating calendar entries and checking the weather.

The Gear will be compatible initially with two Samsung products also unveiled – the Galaxy Note 3, a smartphone with a giant 5.7-inch screen and a digital pen, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, a tablet computer with a 10.1-inch screen comparable to Apple’s full-sized iPad. But Samsung promised to update other Galaxy phones and tablets to work with the Gear in the future.

The number of apps that work with the Gear is also still limited. More than 70 apps are currently supported, including Facebook, Twitter and RunKeeper. That compares with the hundreds of thousands available for leading smartphones.

Unlike normal watches that can tick away for years on end, Samsung only promises a full day’s use out of the Gear before it has to be charged.

Apple’s plans for a smartwatch aren’t known, but the company has been seeking a trademark for the iWatch name. The company is widely believed to be developing a watch that works on the same software as its iPhone and iPad, although it’s unclear if it will be ready before the holidays. An announcement event next week is expected to be on new iPhones. Apple declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm didn’t disclose a specific price or date for the Toq, beyond saying it will come out this year. Sony didn’t provide many details about its SmartWatch 2 either. The focus of its announcement was a new smartphone with a high-resolution camera.

Robert-Jan Broer, head of Germany-based market research firm Chronolytics, said many people who have stopped wearing watches because they are surrounded by time-telling devices might consider buying a smartwatch.

Brian Profitt, a technology expert and adjunct instructor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, said the real question is whether the Samsung watch “will make the purchase of yet-another smart device worth it.”

“It’s great to have hands-free capabilities to take notes or snap a picture,” Profitt said. “But it is $299 great? That’s going to be the real test for the Galaxy Gear.”

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Posted by on Oct 1st, 2013 and filed under Literature & Electronic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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