Is Samsung Gear the Future of Computing Technology?

Discussion
Sep 05, 2013

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is not the first smartwatch to hit the market, but it is the one that has made the biggest splash.

The electronics manufacturer said the $299 Gear, which will go on sale September 25, will tell time, make calls, take photos and be able to surf the internet. The device, which also includes a fitness tracker, will sync with tablets and smartphones running on Android.

"Samsung Galaxy Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives, and bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology," said JK Shin, CEO and president of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics, in a statement.

"Students look at wristwatches today the same way that their grandparents looked at pocket watches in the middle of the last century, as an unbelievably old-fashioned thing," Paul Saffo, a futurist and professor at Stanford, told USA Today. "But that is about to change."

A big deal has been made in a number of reports that Samsung has gotten a head start on Apple with the introduction of its smartwatch. Even so, many believe the iWatch, whenever it debuts, will be a formidable competitor.

"We expect Samsung Galaxy Gear to sell reasonably well, but it is most likely to be Apple that catalyzes the smartwatch industry," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, told Bloomberg News. "Apple should be able to blend the iWatch into its iOS ecosystem in a much tighter way than the fragmented Android community."

What are your expectations for the smartwatch market? Do you see these devices being eventually adapted for business purposes in the same way smartphones and tablets have been?

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17 Comments on "Is Samsung Gear the Future of Computing Technology?"


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Dick Seesel
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

To the second question first, I do foresee these devices becoming business-friendly in the same way as phones and tablets — the difference being that not everyone wants to wear a watch because it’s a fashion accessory, not just a device.

The bigger question is how Apple gets into the “smartwatch” business; the iPhone was certainly not the first smartphone but it revolutionized the industry. There are certainly more than enough iOS and Android users out there for both Apple and Samsung to succeed if the idea is a winning one.

David Dorf
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

I’m waiting for the iWatch before declaring watches back in style. Extending the features of the smartphone to one’s wrist is nice, but it’s hardly radical. We need a killer app beyond just fitness monitoring to make it a raging success.

While I can foresee consumer uses for smartwatches while shopping, my crystal ball is still cloudy when it comes to in-store employee uses.

Ian Percy
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

We don’t use a tenth of the capability of our phones or computers and it will be even less with a watch. Look out for more videos of people falling into fountains, falling off curbs, driving into a tree while they use their watch. People will buy it alright, but mostly because they can. Even with smartphones the most often heard phrase is “I haven’t learned how to use it yet.” But gosh are they proud to have it.

Maybe it’s age catching up to me…but wouldn’t a lot of us be better off leaving our phones and laptops – and taking off our smartwatch – to go for a walk on the beach? If you can hold hands with someone so much the better.

Chris Petersen, PhD
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

The first question is probably the price/value equation. Consumers can get a far more powerful smart phone for free (with contract) that tells time, takes much better photos, connects with all social media, plays games, and makes phone and skype calls. For $299 the wearable watch gear must have some compelling value proposition like “health tracking” that comes from wearing the device.

The ultimate question will be: do consumers really want smart technology more deeply embedded into their everyday lives? In a time starved, always on work world … maybe not so much.

Robert DiPietro
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

The smartwatch market is still in its infancy, but I see it going the way of the old calculator watch—a fad at best. Why do you need to look at your watch to see incoming texts or emails when you can look at your phone? Do you really need a camera on your watch when you can have Google Glass?

The way I see the smartwatch evolving is as a fitness/lifestyle item—I’m thinking count my excise/calories and keep track of my calendar—not one for business.

Todd Sherman
Guest
Todd Sherman
8 years 8 months ago

I have high expectations for the smartwatch—and not just because I’m a gadget guy (although somewhat reined in by my “smartwife” when she collects all of my purchases into one place to provide a more reasoned perspective…).

Samsung has made the first move with its introduction yesterday and it’s an evolution of some of the current smartphone capabilities packaged into a different form factor. But Apple still seems to be on the one to watch (seriously, no pun intended) as they have the proven history of taking the big steps and creating completely new categories—for both business and personal uses.

The applications in business will take advantage of the BYOD trend—smartwatches bought for personal use will find their way into the business world. For retailers, it will be another opportunity to connect with their customers who will use the smartwatch to help with their shopping.

Ed Dunn
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

I believe the Google Glass fad just got their expiration date. Apple is releasing their iWatch in a few weeks and other companies are working on smartwatch technology.

The incorporation of a camera, S voice and transmission between a smartphone/tablet (trend is called “beaming”) negates all of the features Google Glasses offered. Everybody cannot wear glasses but they can wear a smart watch.

For medical purposes, elderly can be tracked easier and their health records can be accessible.

Here is the secret for retailing—remember the futurist movies where someone has a bar code on their wrist and would be scanned by a machine?

It is now possible to create point of sale transaction allowing a person to place their arm in a container and have the smartwatch display a barcode to a camera inside the container and conduct a contactless transaction. Cannot do that with Google Glass!

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

The key advantage to a watch is that you don’t need any hands to hold it, nor do you need a purse or pocket to store it. Even with young people though, I still see many with watches as fashion accessories. I believe we are a long way away from the watch no longer representing a way to exhibit social status as a piece of jewelry.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
8 years 8 months ago
I think the challenge with the watch market, like many bleeding edge technologies, is that the capability of the technology has not progressed to the level of the imagination of the user. Until the technology and its power source can be packaged into a comfortable “standard size” form factor, I don’t get it. If you’re going to have to piggy back (or “tether”) off the phone you are carrying somewhere else, you might as well use the phone. Until a smaller form factor is possible, I don’t think the smart watch will be a big winner. Having said all that, there are probably some very specific areas in retail where the smart watch could apply. Any situation where both hands are needed such as warehouse product selection or night crew replenishment could be made more efficient with a wrist mounted device that directs and confirms the wearer’s actions. For people who are not doing a lot of data entry, the wrist mounted device might be a quick way to jot down (dictate) reminders or serve… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

Let’s go back to the need for this type of device first. Why do we need a smart device other than our phone or tablet? Hmmm….

I would suppose the answer to that question is, convenience. You don’t have to pull the phone out of your pocket. But can you see yourself talking to your watch? Trying to search the web on your watch? Not so much. Would I buy a smartwatch for particular apps? Maybe.

I can certainly see folks getting excited about wearable devices for the convenience factor, but I’m just not feelin’ the watch.

Larry Negrich
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

Wearable technology will need to prove it has staying power as a consumer device first. If these devices are adopted widely by the general public, then I think you will see companies jumping into the market to extend them to business application.

I am a wearable technology proponent, but this first gen looks like it will break into the market as fashion not function, meaning the consumer will have an additional device, in this case a watch, that will need to be on-person. Perhaps fashion will help drive some tech enthusiasts to give these a try but I really think a wearable should reduce the number/size/intrusive nature of a device so that it flows into the daily experience.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

The question shouldn’t relate the smartwatch to smartphones and tablets. It should be “What will this do to the watch business?” The smart watch that is $299 today will be $199 next year, $99 the year after that and then $59.

Tell me the time, weather, who is calling me, if I have an important email, a quick app for a restaurant reservation or movie ticket, an app for hailing a taxi, automatically change the time when I cross time zones, alert me to an appointment or follow-up. It is all about convenience.

Heck, I may even go back to wearing a watch, for which I have no need for now and haven’t since I got my first smartphone.

Lynne Majek
Guest
Lynne Majek
8 years 8 months ago

As with the others, I reserve judgement on this until I see it. First impressions:

  • Wrong name for it. It’s not a watch, it’s a hands-free smartphone.
  • If it’s successful for consumers, it will quickly become necessary for business.
  • Seems to have applications in Supply Chain and other areas where hands-free is important. I like the POS idea, too, Ed!
J. Peter Deeb
Guest
8 years 8 months ago

The smartwatch should have uses for retailers reaching consumers, parents keeping track of children (one of the most successful uses of watch technology to date is the latest GPS app for golfers that gives them everything that their hand held or smartphone devices do while on the course), shopping lists that consumers don’t have to hold and cross off, etc. The biggest negative that I see is the size of print for us old geezers who can hardly read their phone, let alone a watch!

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
8 years 8 months ago

I think the mobile device and broader technology industry may be finally reaching the point of jumping the shark. PC sales are in freefall and tablet growth seems to be slowing, while the majority of the developed world now owns a smartphone. Samsung and Apple are grasping for the “next big thing” and will try to convince us that watches are it. I don’t see the compelling benefits of a smartwatch as an incremental device to the ones I already have and without mass consumer adoption the adaptation to business purposes is even less likely to happen. We should all remain very bullish on technology in the long run, but the current cycle that started with the iPhone may be reaching its peak.

Fernando Roa
Guest
Fernando Roa
8 years 8 months ago

Remembering Palm, Compact, and HP in the PDA market, I would say that most productivity tools have a great take off, then eventually they die off when something new comes (in this case it was the Blackberry and smartphone that killed all the PDAs). The Samsung Gear will certainly make a mark. One thing though, its functions cannot be appreciated unless paired with a smartphone, so the question is, when will the market suddenly realize that $299 is a rip off for a watch that is an adjunct to an existing cellphone that you carry in your pocket?

First-adapters will snap up these things and then quickly tire of them. No, I don’t really think these things will be adapted heavily for business purposes in a big way. Small cheap Android tablets are the way to take advantage of the earth’s population’s desire to go online and connect with each other.

Alan Tepfer
Guest
Alan Tepfer
8 years 8 months ago

I see the smartwatch market as more of a niche area—at least for now, though there were those who said the same of the IPhone.

Specifically, there seems to be a significant degree of overlap in basic functionality between smartwatches and smart devices in general. How many devices do you need that can take a picture and send an email? Is it really easier to send an email from your wrist, on a (relatively) tiny screen as opposed to your “regular” smart device—phone, tablet, phablet, etc.?

Definitely cooler, but “cool” seems geared more toward niche markets than widespread business purposes.

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