Electronics manufacturer Samsung has announced the Galaxy Gear, a watch that will connect with a user’s smartphone to allow them to do several things they would do with their phone from their watch.
The Galaxy Gear runs a version of Google’s Android operating system and is dubbed a “smartwatch.” The Galaxy Gear has microphones and speakers so users can make and receive phone calls on the smartwatch. Users can read text messages and emails from their wrists. The smartwatch also features a camera, a pedometer and the ability to control media playback from the 1.65-inch screen. Some apps will run on the smartwatch.
“I looked into getting a smartwatch,” said Caitlin Jacobson, a senior from North Pole, Alaska. “It’s just so convenient. But I’ll just wait for the next generation to come out when they have all the kinks worked out.”
The Galaxy Gear will be available for use with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a phone with a 5.7-inch screen announced at the same time as the Galaxy Gear. The Galaxy Gear is also compatible with the Note 10.1, a tablet also manufactured by Samsung. It will also be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4 after the phone receives a software update in October.
The Galaxy Gear’s suggested retail price is $299. It will be available from the four major cell phone carriers in the United States: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Verizon Wireless has the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear available to preorder and expects both items to ship by Oct. 12. AT&T started taking preorders Sept. 17 with an availability date of Oct. 1. T-Mobile is also taking preorders with availability Oct. 2. Sprint announced they will offer the Galaxy Gear on Oct. 4.
Linda Shirley, manager of the BYU Testing Center, said she is aware of smartwatches and their capabilities. Testing Center employees will look out for them, and those who use smartwatches inappropriately in the Testing Center will be disciplined.
The Galaxy Gear is not the first smartwatch to be announced. Although not marketed as a smartwatch, the Pebble “E-Paper Watch” has features similar to the Galaxy Gear. Some of these features include the ability to read emails and text messages. Pebble users can also see who is calling on their watches and read Facebook messages and tweets. The E-Paper Watch can be used with Apple devices and devices running Android.
Tech blogs also report that Apple may be in the process of developing a smartwatch of its own.
Smartwatches may become more common in the future as more companies begin to manufacture them.