Galaxy Gear specs and features explained by new reports

August 19, 2013
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Samsung Galaxy Gear concept

Galaxy Gear concept

A couple of new reports offer more unconfirmed details on Samsung’s first Android-based smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, that’s expected to be unveiled during a special media event on September 4 right alongside the Galaxy Note 3.

GigaOm has apparently managed to uncover specs and features for the Galaxy Gear from persons familiar with the device, including developers that had a chance to use test units.

Hardware

According to the publication, the smartwatch will measure 3 inches (case and display), with the OLED screen taking 2.5-inch of that. The display is said to “show the full spectrum of colors.”

Interestingly, the site specifically mentions that it’s a “square” screen, therefore excluding flexible displays for the device – a Bloomberg report did say a few days ago that contrary to rumors and speculation, the Galaxy Gear will not have a flexible screen.

samsung-gear-concept-patent-3

Samsung smartwatch patent

The display will support a variety of gestures including “usual touch, swipe” and others, but it won’t offer text input.

The smartwatch will pack a dual-core processor and “have pretty decent battery life.” Without mentioning actual components, the publication does say that what it learned about the device lines up with a previous Galaxy Gear report that detailed specs for the smartwatch, including a 1.5GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4214 processor, Mali-400 GPU and 320 x 320 display.

Furthermore, the Galaxy Gear also packs a camera in the strap, and “tiny speakers in the clasp of the watch,” but also NFC and Bluetooth LE.

However, the device will not act as a phone by itself, a report from The Verge reveals, but instead it will connect to smartphones (via Bluetooth LE), as expected.

Software

The test units sent to developers are apparently based on Android 4.1 or Android 4.2, although Samsung is said to be interested in promoting some of its own stuff for the Galaxy Gear when it comes to software.

Not only will the device have Samsung-made applications, but they’ll be available only from Samsung’s own app store rather than from Google Play.

Samsung smartwatch patent

Samsung smartwatch patent

On that note, it’s suggested that the Galaxy Gear will only work with Galaxy smartphones and tablets, although that’s yet to be confirmed.

Speaking of software features, here are some of them, as detailed by GigaOm:

  • Battery optimizations: the Galaxy Gear will use the accelerometer to detect movement and turn on when “it is moved up to the eye.”
  • Notifications: stopping at a certain notification (an email blurb for example), and then picking up the phone initiates an action on the handset, with that email blurb opening up on the phone
  • Twitter and Facebook integration
  • Health and fitness: the device packs “enough sensors that it can start to compete with wearable computing devices such as the Nike Fuelband,” the publication writes, suggesting that some of Samsung’s health-related (S-Health) apps may be found on board of the Galaxy Gear

On the smartphone side, there will be a Samsung watch manager app that will handle the connection between the Galaxy Gear and smartphones and tablets:

The connection will use Samsung’s proprietary accessory protocol and will use Bluetooth LE as the network transport. Apparently if there is any app running on the watch, it is its own discreet endpoint and will work directly with the servers.

Wrap up

Various sources have already confirmed that the Galaxy Gear will be unveiled on September 4, and GigaOm says the same thing. However, the tech site also adds that Samsung may hold a Galaxy Gear-related event in New York on the same day, and even start selling the smartwatch in a pop-up store in Times Square.

Samsung Galaxy Gear concept

Galaxy Gear concept

Earlier today, a report suggested that the Gear will start shipping towards the end of September / early October.

That said, we’ll remind you that the Galaxy Gear is still not official, so, while definitely interesting, the information presented by these new reports can’t be confirmed just yet.

Are you buying a smartwatch this year to pair it with your Android handset?

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