iWatch and where Samsung went wrong with Galaxy Gear

We don’t know for sure if Apple is working on a product called the iWatch, but even the hint that they were sent Samsung on a quest to beat Apple to market with it. Samsung won the race, but they made several fatal flaws that could cost them dearly.

I have been saying for several months on Amplified that people need to get away from the idea of “iWatch” being a watch— think of it more as a wearable device for your life. It’s absurd to think that Apple is going to release a watch and that was Samsung’s biggest mistake—they believed it.

Samsung believed the rumors and made the device they thought Apple would bring to market. A smartwatch described by Vlad Savov at The Verge like this:

Yes, it’s a smartphone accessory that can pick up notifications, control music playback, and keep time with a rich variety of watch faces, but Samsung takes it a few steps further by integrating a 1.9-megapixel camera, a speaker, and two microphones — allowing you to shoot short 720p movies and even conduct phone calls with the Galaxy Gear.

Importantly, the Galaxy Gear is not a phone in its own right — it relies on a Bluetooth connection to your Samsung Galaxy device in order to do most of its connected work.

John Gruber summed up my initial thoughts perfectly:

About the best you could expect from Samsung without having anything to copy from Apple: overpriced, ugly, laggy UI, terrible battery life, dubious utility.

Galaxy Gear reminds me more of a Casio Calculator Watch than anything we would expect a high-tech company to build today. Samsung got caught up in trying to be first to market with a product instead of trying to solve a problem for its users. That is what technology is supposed to do for us—this doesn’t.

I do believe the wrist could be an important place for a wearable device, but I want it to do more than sync with my phone or have a camera so I can take selfies. Galaxy Gear lacks imagination and innovation and does nothing to push technology, or our use of it, forward.

In looking at what Apple might do for a wearable device, we need to look at what we do everyday and how that device would help us. It could be in the car, the living room or while we are walking in the park. Wherever it is, the device needs to push us forward and solve a problem. It needs to become part of our life by becoming an indispensable part of it.

Galaxy Gear does none of these things.

When and if Apple releases a wearable device, Samsung will undoubtedly see where it went wrong and within months release a product bearing a striking resemblance to Apple’s new product.