Samsung Galaxy Gear

There have been a number of posts discussing the impact of the release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and, to a lesser extent, Qualcomm Toq smart watches. Some coverage hails the start of a revolution. But I found Mike Elgan’s ComputerWorld piece much closer to reality.

Press and pundits are treating these new entrants as the beginning of the revolution. But they’re not. They’re throwback, unserious relics from the past. They will both fail in the market. And they don’t represent the awesome smartwatch lineup to come.

If Apple chooses to enter this market, you can bet the farm that it won’t be with a product that looks anything like the Samsung and Qualcomm offerings.

  • gjgustav

    Yep, none of these are disruption devices. They are curious trinkets for a select few, that’s all.

  • Sebastian Paul

    Just like the iPhone was just a smartphone without the necessary keyboard (and 3G and GPS) and the iPad just a bigger iPod Touch – the iWatch will be just notifications strapped to your wrist (with shitty battery life for a watch).

    Well, that’s what those who don’t get it will say.

    It will take three years before they realize that Apple introduced something disruptive (disruptive to what? Who knows – most likely digital watches, lifelogging, your wallet?) and by then, they will complain that Apple hasn’t introduced anything “innovative” since the iWatch and is dooooooomed.

  • I had to double check that there was actually a link to an article by Mike Elgan on The Loop, but hey, the quoted sentence makes a lot of sense.

    I agree with him on this: none of these devices bring anything disruptive or even particularly useful to the table. They’re gimmicks with almost no value to the average person, especially because they’re duds without a host device. Furthermore the battery life of one day is laughable.

    I’d understand the appeal of a smart watch if it were 1990 and Knight Rider re-runs were still airing. Today I think that this is a trend generated by pundtis to fulfil their pathological need for “teh shiny”.

    The other problem is Elgan’s article, because apart from the quoted passage and the first half of the first sentence the article is the usual crap and goes completely off the rails on the second page.

    • Moeskido

      Considering it’s Elgan, I’ll avoid clicking through and assume he eventually gets around to complaining how Apple should change its business model to be more like Google’s or Microsoft’s.

      • Funny enough that wasn’t the case this time. Instead he started rambling that “the revolution is still coming” from Apple, MS, Nissan, etc, etc, …

        It basically means that he doesn’t like the current ones, so they’re shit. But we have to wait just a little longer for the other unicorns to arrive, those are gonna be AWESOME!

        • Moeskido

          His career, like that of pentecostals who preach impending apocalypse, appears to be based upon a readership with little or no memory.

  • I think Samsung’s watch looks pretty nice. It’s just a bit big but to have that much functionality…I’m sure it is hard to make it smaller without making it unusable.

    With that said, I have no desire for one though. I believe they are bare minimum and not really a revolution. It’s like the early smartphone days [WinMo, etc] where you could do some things but it wasn’t all that great.

  • Walt Kania

    Apple did a brilliant head fake here. They let rumors ‘leak’ about developing an iWatch, which sent Samsung et al on this embarrassing wild goose chase.

    • If you think Samsung cooked this up within 6 months [roughly the timeframe since Apple rumors came about], you are wildly imaginative.

      • Domicinator

        I disagree–that’s actually EXACTLY how Samsung operates. Especially with their advertising. From what I’ve heard, they are set up so that they can get a new marketing campaign or even a new product rolling within just a couple of weeks.

        • Marketing is different. You can roll a marketing plan in less than a month.

          We’re talking from concept to production to launch in a short timeframe. I HIGHLY doubt they move that fast.

          And, to be honest, this is pretty well executed. It isn’t very useful, it seems, but it definitely isn’t a piece of crap.

      • joshua

        The rumours of an iWatch have been flying for much, much longer than six months. More than enough time to develop a product for launch.

        • Maybe so. I’m only referring to when they got real legs behind them [not typical pundant conjecture. It was roughly early this year [jan/feb timeframe].

          • Sebastian Paul


            End of 2011.

            And Samsung has – as always in the last few years – much more insight than bloggers, because they have been the company Apple asked for prototypes of displays, memory and processors that could be used in an iWatch.

            Do you remember the GalaxyTab 10.1 and 10.1v ?

            The first one that roughly looked like an iPad 1 and the other one that roughly looked like an iPad 2 (Actually they resembled them more than just roughly, but if i had said “looked like”, somebody would have complained that the GT10.1 tablets had “Samsung” written on the front or something like that).

            When Samsung realized what Apple did with the iPad 2, they quickly announced the thinner GT10.1 (and iirc renamed the thicker model GT10.1v – or maybe the other way round, that stuff was complicated!) and brought it to market iirc three months later.

            Yes, of course they were already working on it before Apple announced the iPad 2, but probably rushed it to market when they realized that the thicker and uglier model stood no chance.

            And you’re wrong, the Galaxy Gear is NOT well executed. Battery life sucks and it’s laggy.

            People don’t understand yet that smartwatches will always have shorter battery life than other digital “watches”, which run months without replacing the battery.

            Releasing a product with the worst possible battery life – that means not lasting even a single day of average use – kills it.

          • Yeah, I remember the two Tabs. I still have one [the latter]. Redoing a body is completely different than doing an entire product from scratch though. They already had the OS done, etc.

            I haven’t seen anyone complain about the battery or lag. 24 hours for a device that small doing that much doesn’t seem bad to me [or the one’s I heard discussing it; haven’t read much]. Maybe my opinion would change if I bought one, which I won’t do.

          • Sebastian Paul

            It wasn’t just the body, the newer model is more than 2mm thinner, has a bigger battery and has a worse camera and iirc no SD card slot.

            Or course that’s not a completely different device, but it show’s that Samsung is very quick with bringing something to market when a competitor has released something important.

            And as the thinner GT10.1 has a much worse camera than the 10.1v, this shows that they will sacrifice features and also screw customers (poor fellows who bought the GT10.1v before the better model was announced) to beat others to market or beat/match other features.

            The Galaxy Gear has less than a day of battery life, according to TheVerge and “a device that small doing that much” is imho exactly the wrong way to see it.

            It should do LESS – drop the ability to be a shitty Vine-clone camera and similar bloating features.

            Where they also failed is imho the whole specs-boasting.

            People now know this thing has an 800 MHz processor, 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage.

            But do they need to know this?

            Is it necessary to use such high-specced hardware in a “watch” and also tell people about it?

            Apple never releases real hardware specs for their “iDevices” (Macs are different) and I don’t think anyone outside Apple knows the clockspeed of the processor of the iPod Nano.

            When Apple announces the iWatch, they won’t tell every journalist “Oh yeah, this thing has a 1GHz Apple A5Micro SoC” – they’ll just say “Yes, this thing has a processor”.

            AND: 800MHz and 512MB RAM??? The Nintendo 3DS has a sub-300MHz processor and 128MB RAM and is a real handheld gaming system.

            Isn’t 800MHz way too much for the things the Galaxy Gear will do?

          • They give specs and Apple doesn’t. You know what? That’s fine. Apple’s way isn’t the only way.

            I, in no way, meant to imply they hit the right features out the gate. The camera idea is meh to me except for spying situations. lol. Considering it does take pictures, has notifications, etc, etc, etc…I 100% understand ‘about a day’ of battery life.

            The only thing I saw from The Verge on battery was the demos had low batteries and it’s 315mAh. I do look forward to their review though.

            Don’t think I’m defending this product though. I have no basis or desire to do so but have no problem continuing this discussion w/ you.

          • After watching today’s event, you’re 100% wrong on Apple not talking specs. They spit out specs every demo. Maybe they don’t mention RAM but specs abound in all of these presos.

  • HowmaNoid

    You can add the Pebble in there along with Sammy and Toq (really!). None of these watches are either good looking enough of functional enough to tolerate their crappy looks. Seriously, the old MSFT SPOT watches were better in many way.