updated 02:28 pm EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Wearable companion for phone, tablet
As expected, Samsung has formally unveiled its Galaxy Gear smart watch at an IFA event in Berlin. As detailed in earlier leaks, the watch serves as a wearable "companion device" to use with tablets and smartphones. Without taking their phone out of a pocket, users can preview incoming texts, e-mails, calls or other notifications, or take advantage of voice input to place calls and record memos.
Aligning with Google Glass marketing, Samsung is promoting the Gear as a tool to record "life's meaningful moments." A 1.9-megapixel camera can be used to capture stills or video, which can then be uploaded to social networks.
To help protect against unauthorized access to data on a companion device, following a direct theft or accidental separation, users can enable a security option that locks a phone or tablet screen when the watch is more than 1.5 meters away. "Find My Device" provides further assurance, causing misplaced devices to illuminate, beep and vibrate.
The Gear also works as a traditional wristwatch, with a wide variety of virtual faces available for the three-inch curved AMOLED display. The company believes it has built a style icon, initially releasing the watch in six different colors ranging from black to lime green.
Many companies have released Bluetooth-connected watches and similar products in recent years, with varying degrees of market success. Samsung and other big players in the gadget industry appear to have a renewed interest in the segment, as internal components continue to shrink in size and price.
Samsung expects to ship the Galaxy Gear on September 25, however pricing information has yet to be announced.