1Galaxy Gear Smartwatch the Star of Samsung’s Unpacked Event
by Michelle Maisto
2Samsung 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.
3Icona 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!”
4Social 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.
5Meet 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.”
6Talk 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.
7Smile 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.
8Galaxy 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.
9Galaxy Gear Clasp
A view of the Galaxy Glear’s clasp closed, and a detail of the plastic band.
10One 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.
11Specializing 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?
12Leather 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.”
13New Materials for the Note 10.1, Note 3
The sides of the new Notes are a type of ridged metal.
14The 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.
15The 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.
16The 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.