Samsung announced its first Android-powered smart watch today called the Galaxy Gear.
The Gear syncs with another new gadget Samsung announced today, the Galaxy Note III, a large-screen phablet. For now, the Gear will only work with the Galaxy Note III, but Samsung says it will add support for other Galaxy phones soon.
The new smart watch will cost $US299 and will go on sale in October.
So, what can it do?
The Galaxy Gear pairs with the Galaxy Note III phone via Bluetooth. It can display information like incoming calls, texts, and emails on its 1.63-inch colour touchscreen. It also has a bunch of other apps like a pedometer for tracking your steps, a stopwatch, and Path, a small social network for mobile devices.
However, the Galaxy Gear doesn’t have support from big popular apps like Facebook and Twitter. Samsung says it’s working with developers to bring more third-party apps to the Galaxy Gear.
There’s also a camera built into the watch’s strap, and you take photos by tapping the screen. But it’s a bit awkward to use the camera because the lens is on the side of the strap. You have to hold it up eye-level to take a good photo, but that means you can’t see the display.
The Galaxy Gear has a built-in microphone on the bottom of the band that you can use for voice commands and making phone calls from your wrist. The microphone syncs with Samsung’s S Voice app, a voice assistant similar to Apple’s Siri. For example, you can talk into the Galaxy Gear and tell it to set an alarm, call someone in your contacts list, or ask for current weather conditions.
As for the Galaxy Note III, it’s very similar to last year’s model, the Galaxy Note II. It has a slightly larger screen, but the body of the phone is the same size as the Galaxy Note II. In short, Samsung was able to pack more screen on the same surface area.
It also has a new stylus, which Samsung calls the S Pen. The new S Pen lets you draw and write on the screen. With the Note III, you can hover the pen over the phone’s display and press its button on the side to pull up a handy menu of drawing and note-taking apps.
There’s no price for the Galaxy Note III yet, but it should cost around $US300 with a two-year contract from your carrier. (That’s how much last year’s Note II cost on most carriers.)
We covered Samsung’s big Galaxy gadget announcement live earlier today. You can see recap the news as it happened in the live blog below.