Samsung Is About To Try Again With Its Poorly-Reviewed Galaxy Gear Smart Watch

Samsung galaxy gear commercialScreenshotA shot from Samsung’s Galaxy Gear commercial.

Samsung executive Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg this week that the company plans to launch a new version of its Galaxy Gear smart watch along with its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S5. Both devices should launch by April.

Even though the Galaxy Gear is only a few months old (it launched in October last year), it could definitely use a refresh. Reviews of the device were almost universally negative. In November, Samsung said it shipped 800,000 units, but did not say how many customers actually bought the device.

So, what could Samsung improve with the Gear?

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Battery life is poor. The watch makes it through just a little over a day at best. That might be fine for a smartphone, but not a device you’re supposed to always have on your body. The charging module is also awkward to use.
  • It only works with a few Samsung devices, not the entire Galaxy phone/tablet ecosystem. Right now, you can only use the Gear if you have a Galaxy Note III, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2013 edition), and Galaxy S III.
  • The design is heavy and bulky. The Gear isn’t comfortable to wear while typing on your keyboard, for example.
  • The notifications system doesn’t work well with third-party apps like Twitter and Gmail. The Gear will tell you if you have a new tweet or email, but you can’t read them on the device. Instead, you have to pull out your phone, which seems to make having the watch in the first place unnecessary.

Samsung’s Hee didn’t provide many details about the next version of the Gear, but did say it would be slimmer than the current version.

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