Samsung ‘Smart Gear’: Making the mundane digital


Back in March, PHDThinkTank discussed the ‘Rise of the smartwatch’, considering how the development of smartphones could enable the revival of the wristwatches – even if they are about to enter a new era of technological advancement.

As predicted, Samsung has revealed Galaxy Smart Gear, a digital wristwatch which is synced to the owner’s Galaxy smartphone. Referred to as a wearable companion device, it will receive notifications of incoming emails, texts, and messages via a Bluetooth 4.0 + BLE connection, allowing the wearer to quickly check and decide whether that message or email is important or can be ignored. In addition, if that message is deemed important, it will automatically appear in full once you access your Samsung phone or tablet using a feature called Smart Relay.

The Smartwatch also includes various apps and a camera & speaker, allowing the user to make voice and video calls. Samsung has reported that the device will have 70 apps available at launch, including fitness staples like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal, alongside big names such as Ebay & Evernote, plus the S-Voice which allows for hands free commands. It will also come in six colours: black, gray, orange, lime green, and beige all with a silver face and buckle, plus a sixth version in beige and champagne-toned gold.

When the watch was unveiled in Berlin at the IFA conference earlier this month, critics were quick to criticize the photo quality and the bulkiness of the strap. Nevertheless, as a first generation device it is to be expected that these things will improve with subsequent re-imaginations, especially for those consumers who may be more fashion conscious. So, expect varying designs, different materials or metals used in the future.

In terms of media, Samsung has yet to offer obvious opportunities, though the special smartwatch app store that will be launched alongside would be the first port of call for many brands to try and implement branded apps. One thing to consider here is that the watch is centered on practicality and augmenting your smartphone – therefore, branded apps would need to offer significant value to the consumer, especially if they are challenging a dedicated Samsung app which offers a similar service. In addition, there has been no word on the possibility of smartwatch ad serving, though such a thing could over-commercialize the device and subsequently put off consumers. In addition, as with tablet devices, how much data would be made available to advertisers could be limited to app downloads – especially since this is dependent on which publisher brands choose to build their app with.

However, these considerations are still to come. The product will be released around the world on 25 September at the same time as the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Once the app store is open and the functionality of the apps is really put to the test, it will be interesting to see exactly which brands decide to take this new device on and who can be the first to truly and successfully link their brand experience from the Samsung Galaxy to its Smart Gear.


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