Galaxy Gear “lacks something special” but will work with Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 in coming months, according to the South Korean giant, which means that’s when the new Android 4.3 update will be available for these devices.
Samsung’s Lee Don-joo, the president of strategic marketing for the mobile division, told the Korea Times that the Galaxy S4 will be connected to the Gear “by next month,” with the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 getting Galaxy Gear support by the end of the year:
“All functions of the Gear will be connected to the Galaxy S4 smartphone by next month and the connection will be expanded to Galaxy Note2 and Galaxy S3 by the end of December,” said the president.
Why is that statement so important? Well, in order for the Galaxy Gear to connect to other devices than the Galaxy Note 3, these devices are required to run Android 4.3, as the smartwatch uses Bluetooth 4.0 LE to hook up to smartphones and tablets.
Bluetooth 4.0 LE happens to be a new feature of Google’s latest Jelly Bean update, which means the named devices will be upgraded to Android 4.3 in order to be ready to be paired with the Galaxy Gear.
In other words, Samsung has basically confirmed what existing reports have said all along, that the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update is coming in October, followed by an Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.
That’s definitely important for plenty of Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 users whether they plan to buy a Galaxy Gear smartwatch or not. While we’re still waiting for actual release dates for the update, this time around things are looking better for Android fans that own one of those three Samsung handsets.
Unlike with previous Android updates, Samsung may be very interested to have its Android 4.3 updates out and about as fast as possible, in order to try to pitch its Galaxy Gear to as many Galaxy device owners that don’t intend to buy a Galaxy Note 3 – currently the only Galaxy Gear-compatible handset – but are interested in purchasing a Gear smartwatch to use with their existing Samsung smartphone.
Discussing the company’s first smartwatch with the Korea Times, an unnamed Samsung official said the company acknowledges that the “Gear lacks something special,” but that the product will get better in time “with more investment for user interface and user experience.”
That’s not exactly the greatest compliment a Samsung exec can pay to one of the company’s most recent creations, but at the same time it’s sort-of in line with some of the criticism the device has received.
To counter the critics, Samsung’s Lee Young-hee, executive vice president for marketing at Samsung Mobile, said that the handset is getting “warm response,” without actually revealing how warm the response was by mentioning pre-order numbers:
“The Galaxy Gear is a wow product. It’s a wholly new and must-have accessory,” said the vice president Lee, downplaying growing criticism about the wristwatch. “It only weighs 74 grams and it’s very easy to receive a call or send a text.”
As for an earlier rumor that said a Galaxy Gear 2 model may be in the works for CES 2014 or MWC 2014, the same executive denied that the company is working on a second-generation model.
We’ll be back with more details about Galaxy Gear compatibility – and therefore Android 4.3 updates – in the near future.