Galaxy Gear Smartwatch the Star of Samsung's Unpacked Event

1 - Galaxy Gear Smartwatch the Star of Samsung's Unpacked Event
2 - Samsung Prefers Pomp to Secrecy
3 - Icona Pop, 'I Love It'
4 - Social Commentary Soapbox
5 - Meet the Galaxy Gear
6 - Talk to the Hand
7 - Smile for the Wristwatch
8 - Galaxy Gear Logistics
9 - Galaxy Gear Clasp
10 - One Size, and Aesthetic, Fits Most
11 - Specializing the Wearables Market
12 - Leather and Stitching
13 - New Materials for the Note 10.1, Note 3
14 - The Note 3 and Its Companion
15 - The New S Pen
16 - The New Note-Taking
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Galaxy Gear Smartwatch the Star of Samsung's Unpacked Event

by Michelle Maisto

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Samsung Prefers Pomp to Secrecy

Samsung made no secret of its plans to introduce new Note products Sept. 4—it took out giant billboards in Times Square, saying as much—and a top executive confirmed that a smartwatch, called the Galaxy Gear, would also be introduced.

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Icona Pop, 'I Love It'

Swedish synth duo Icona Pop kicked off the event—their Times Square performance live-streamed to a crowd in Berlin—wearing Galaxy Gear watches and singing, "I love it! I love it!"

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Social Commentary Soapbox

In a culture in which we spend so much time staring into tiny screens and taking in vacation views and art museums through camera lenses, it was sadly fitting to watch a special live performance, yards away, through televisions.

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Meet the Galaxy Gear

But on to the real main attraction: the Galaxy Gear. Pranav Mistry, head of Samsung Research's think tank team, said they "started with a clean slate and explored every option." He added, "Welcome to the future."

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Talk to the Hand

The Galaxy Gear features a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display and a 1.9-megapixel camera, accessible by swiping downward on the screen. Swiping side to side moves users through the apps and features. S Voice, for hands-free tasks such as placing a call while holding grocery bags, is also included.

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Smile for the Wristwatch

The camera is embedded in the band, and certainly the motion of using it will take a little getting used to. It also has a very obvious shutter sound, intended to assuage concerns over photos being taken on the sly.

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Galaxy Gear Logistics

The Gear's clasp is rather intense—it's not going to fall off—though it's easy to adjust for different size wrists.

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Galaxy Gear Clasp

A view of the Galaxy Glear's clasp closed, and a detail of the plastic band.

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One Size, and Aesthetic, Fits Most

While on a woman it can seem rather large (see slide 5), on some men it looks more proportional. The Gear pairs with the Note 3, and eventually other devices, to enable a user to make or accept calls, messages and alerts. A user's phone remains the brain of the operation; the Gear just lets him keep it in his pocket.

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Specializing the Wearables Market

The Galaxy Gear will be available in six colors at launch. Officially: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold and Lime Green. How long until we see men's and women's versions?

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Leather and Stitching

While the names of Samsung's pen-based tablets are beginning to meld together, the Note 3 and new Note 10.1 feature distinctly different materials. The exposed stitching and leatherlike fabric are meant to evoke the feeling of holding a leather-bound journal. Or, as Samsung said in a statement, "elegance and sophistication."

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New Materials for the Note 10.1, Note 3

The sides of the new Notes are a type of ridged metal.

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The Note 3 and Its Companion

For size context, a view of the Note 3, in a flip cover, and a Galaxy Gear. While the Note 3 will initially ship in black, white or blush pink, flip covers will be available in an array of colors and materials.

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The New S Pen

Both new Notes come with updated S Pens, which are said to feature improved responsiveness. New software on the tablets makes the S Pens greater assets.

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The New Note-Taking

With its newest Notes, Samsung has worked to improve the note-taking experience and make notes more helpful, more searchable and easier to organize, hoping more people will make the leap from paper.

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