Samsung Preps Galaxy Smartwatch

Samsung will reveal Galaxy Gear smartwatch alongside Galaxy Note III smartphone next month.
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Samsung's new smartwatch may debut as soon as next month. Samsung will show off the Galaxy Gear at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The company has a press conference scheduled for September 4.

More than just a notification tool, the Galaxy Gear will be able to make phone calls and browse the Web. The Galaxy Gear will run a version of Google's Android operating system, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg. Other specs and features (screen size, battery life, connectivity, etc.) of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch have yet to be revealed.

Bloomberg reports that the Galaxy Gear should reach the market shortly after it is announced, which means it will likely beat Apple to the smartwatch punch.

Reports of a Samsung-made smartwatch first surfaced earlier this year. Apple, Samsung's chief competitor, is also working on a smartwatch of sorts, but the timing for Apple's smartwatch is unclear. At one point, many believed it would debut alongside the new iPhones and iPads expected in the months ahead. Recent reports, however, suggest that it may not arrive until next year.

Apple is said to have about 100 engineers working on the project. It would be a major win for Samsung to get its smartwatch into the market ahead of Apple.

[ Will new technology render batteries obsolete? Read Battery-Free Devices Draw Power From Thin Air. ]

The market for wearables, while still niche, is expanding. Other companies have had mixed success with smartwatches this year. The Pebble smartwatch reached the market in January and Sony's second-generation SmartWatch also became available recently. Motorola no longer offers the MOTOACTV smartwatch.

Most of these devices are limited in scope. They can be used to receive notifications for incoming text messages and emails, to answer phone calls, and as exercise and/or navigation companions. The Sony SmartWatch, however, needs to be linked to a companion smartphone to perform most of its functions. It's not yet known just how independent Samsung's smartwatch will be, but adding features that don't require a smartphone to be nearby would help boost the appeal of such a device.

Samsung is also expected to debut the Galaxy Note III during its IFA press conference. The Note III is an even bigger version of Samsung's genre-defining phablet. It will have a 5.7-inch full HD screen with an Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor. The camera will be bumped up to 13 megapixels, and it will come with the latest S Pen software from Samsung.

Both the Note III and Galaxy Gear should be available by the end of October.

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer