Samsung announces Galaxy Gear smartwatch

Samsung announces Galaxy Gear smartwatch 

Powered by an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, the touch interface is sleekly responsive, and the 1.63-inch, 320x320-pixel super AMOLED screen enormously bright and clear. White text and simple icons pop from the background colour of your choice, each function sitting in its own clear, friendly square that you can swipe between to find the one you want.
The Galaxy Gear has a metal face and -- hang on a minute: simple icons on clear, friendly squares? That sounds familiar...
Yes, before we go any further, we should address the fact that the interface of the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is basically Windows Phone.

The camera
On the side of the strap is a small 1.9-megapixel camera, bulging slightly from the strap. Samsung calls it a memographer, emphasising the capture of moments with low-resolution snaps and bite-size videos rather than glorious crystal-clear pictures. The camera options are pretty basic: choose from auto or macro focus, and a couple of different sizes. Photos can be 1,392x1,392 or 1,280x960 pixels. Videos last 10 seconds, with sound, and can be 720p, 640x640, 640x480, or 480x480 pixels.
To take a picture, swipe up from the home screen and tap on the screen. I found that the camera took a moment to fire after I'd tapped the screen, so it could struggle with fast-moving action.

The interface
You control the watch by swiping left and right through a selection of screens. You can change the order they appear, but out of the box when you start scrolling to the right you go from the home screen to notifications, then voice memos, then S Voice commands, then your photo gallery, the music player, a pedometer, settings, and an apps shortcut. Scroll to the left and you see your contacts followed by a phone call log. The screens scroll continually, so when you get all the way to the end you come back round to the home screen and continue on out the other side.

Tap on the Apps screen and you're taken to a submenu of apps installed on the Gear. Samsung says at launch there'll be around 70 apps optimised for the Gear's small screen, most of which are basic apps like a calendar. There are some big names though, including Evernote and Pinterest, which can record and share your quick snaps; eBay and Path to keep an eye on your auctions and social networks; and RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal to follow your latest physical jerks.

Talking to your phone
The Galaxy Gear uses low-power Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone -- and by "your smartphone," we mean "only the Galaxy Note 3," at least for now. When you pair the Galaxy Gear smartwatch with the Note 3, the watch talks to the phone to let you control music or view notifications without taking the phone out of your pocket. And it works the other way, too: the Gear Manager companion app installed on your phone lets you adjust the settings of your watch. Other options include the Find My Device feature: lose track of your phone, and you can use your watch to signal the errant blower, which will make a racket until you locate it. And vice versa: lose your watch, and use the companion app on your phone to set the watch ringing so you can return it to its rightful place on your wrist.

1 comment

Detlef said...

Samsung announces Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Powered by an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, the touch interface is sleekly ...

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