Samsung will debut wearable computer Sept. 4, says exec, but it may not yet be ready for consumers.
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Samsung will announce the Galaxy Gear smartwatch on September 4 in Berlin ahead of the IFA trade show, an executive confirmed Tuesday. Speaking to The Korea Times, Lee Young-hee, executive VP of Samsung's mobile business, implied that the smartwatch perhaps isn't quite ready for prime time.
"We will be introducing a new wearable concept device called Galaxy Gear at our own event," said Lee. "The Gear won't have a flexible display. The new device will enhance and enrich the current smart mobile experience in many ways. It will lead a new trend in smart mobile communications. We are confident that the Gear will add meaningful momentum to the mobile industry."
Lee declined to provide further details about the device, but calling it a "concept" leaves a lot of room for (mis)interpretation. Is the company not confident in the device, or is it simply tempering expectations? Smartwatches may be in their infancy, but Samsung, as the world's smartphone leader, has a chance to set the tone for what these devices can do moving forward.
The Galaxy Gear smartwatch has been in the works for some time. Samsung was first pegged to be building a wearable computer in April, and at this point it will likely beat Apple's rumored iWatch to the market. The device is expected to connect to smartphones via Bluetooth and NFC to provide call-answering, email-scanning, and text message-previewing capabilities, among others. Exercise enthusiasts will likely have the ability to track and record workouts in real time as well as listen to music.
Apple may or may not bring its own smartwatch to market this year. Apple's iWatch was first pegged to arrive before the holidays, but recent reports suggest it may not launch until early 2014. Sony recently debuted the second-generation SmartWatch, its own smartphone-dependent device. And the Pebble smartwatch has also been a fairly big hit with smartphone users since its debut in January.
Lee also confirmed that Samsung will announce the Galaxy Note III at its IFA press conference. According to Lee, Samsung is responsible for the "phablet" form factor's success. "Samsung opened a new mobile device category back in 2011 with the introduction of the first Galaxy Note," said Lee. "Since then, smartphones with large screens have been a mainstream trend. As the creator of this category, we will introduce our customers to enhanced features on our Galaxy Note devices."
The Note III is expected to include a 5.7-inch full HD display, an eight-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, and improved S Pen functions. The latest reports suggest it will be able to capture 4K video. The Note and Note II have both been successful products for Samsung and are sold the world over.
Last, Lee told The Korea Times that Samsung is not considering a purchase of ailing BlackBerry. Instead, she said, the company will continue to improve its Knox security suite, which offers many of the same mobile device management controls and features.
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