Sep 042013

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wondered what would happen if Samsung took a crack at a consumer electronics product category without having an existing Apple product as a reference design. The Korean copycats showed off their answer today at Berlin’s IFA 2013: the Galaxy Gear.

I'm kidding. Sort of. Photo courtesy of The Verge.

I’m kidding. Sort of.
Photo courtesy of The Verge

Behold the wrist-crushing svelteness of the Galaxy Gear. Photo courtesy of The Verge

Behold the wrist-crushing svelteness of the Galaxy Gear.
Photo courtesy of The Verge

You don’t have to be a genius to deduce what happened here. Sick of being tagged as a company that shamelessly and willfully copies Apple’s design, the geniuses at Samsung got a hold of the rumor (which can be traced back to a single blog post) that Apple may be releasing an “iWatch”, took some half-baked proof of concept, pushed it through their manufacturing grist mill and squeezed out this brick. Take that Apple.

Take that indeed. In addition to this thing’s gargantuan dimensions, it’s saddled with a bunch of crap that Apple would never include in a wrist-bound offering: a 1.9 megapixel camera – because –  and a mic/speaker combo that will make you look like Dick (Tracey). The price comes in at a perfectly reasonable $299. But as awkward and expensive as this expectoration is, The Verge was impressed with the watch’s performance and features:

There are a couple of significant downsides that temper my enthusiasm for the new Gear. First and foremost is the speed and intuitiveness of the user interface — or rather, the lack thereof. There’s a tangible lag to anything you do with the Gear, while the swipe gestures are hard to figure out and do different things depending on where you are in the menus.

Samsung promises “about a day” of endurance from the Gear, but by the end of our briefing with the company, the cameras on most of its demo units were refusing to turn on due to the watches running low on power.

Sounds awesome, but is anyone really surprised? At least Samsung apologists will be able to say their guys released something first in case Apple ever does enter this market – in the sense that it’s a device that tells time and wraps around your forearm wrist, anyway. I’d personally be more than content to let Samsung play their part in a hilarious Apple rope-a-dope.

 Posted by at 3:57 pm

  2 Responses to “A World Where Samsung Shoots First: Behold the Galaxy Gear”

  1. The single most important thing Apple did, and I suspect it was driven by Steve Jobs, was to go nowhere until they had the touch interface down exactly. No one else, even 5 years later, has gotten it quite right. I touch other devices. I watch demonstration videos. They just don’t have it. This is the uncanny valley of touch devices. If Apple has it tightly wrapped with patents, well good for them. But otherwise, the competitors just don’t have their priorities straight. This is not an area where ‘good enough’ can pay.

    If Apple produces a wearable device, I’d love to see what they got right that no one else saw (and that’ll be the only way they’ll do it).

    Keep up the good fight. Let us know what you think about the C if/when the details are announced.

  2. Having force-fed myself (actually, it was quite delicious) tech coverage of the Galaxy Gear, it doesn’t look like Samsung got anything right. It’s huge, thick, sucks down a battery in a day, has a camera in the band (which kills any chance of customizability) AND its screen is a cousin of the same non-responsive kin that used to be an Android trademark.

    The good news for Apple is that if they choose to enter the “wearables” market, after the Samsung wristbrick, the bar has been set so low you could trip on it.

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