Samsung Galaxy Gear is announced – all the official stuff you need to know about the smartwatch

Galaxy Gear OfficialSamsung’s smartwatch is really real. Today Samsung took the lid off its long-rumored Android-powered arm computer. Better known as Galaxy Gear.

Galaxy Gear comes in six different colours – Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green – that are reminiscent of playful Swatch wristwear and acts rather like a pared down smartphone that you strap to your wrist.

The new smartwatch will connect to Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 3 smartphone via wireless Bluetooth technology. It will make calls, display messages, record videos and take photos, all while the user’s phone stays in their pocket or handbag.

“It’s a companion device that will keep us constantly connected,” the Samsung executive vice-president of marketing Lee Young-hee told reporters in Seoul before the Gear’s launch.

“It will increase user experience with the Galaxy Note 3 … and with this, we aim to create a new lifestyle trend, initially targeting young trendsetters and style icons.”

On the home screen you get the time, and shortcuts to access essential apps like the camera and your contacts. Swipe to navigate back and forth between different features. From the watch, you can make and receive calls, send texts, and post status updates to Facebook and Twitter. There are other apps, too, that are specifically designed for its 1.63-inch display.

Galaxy Gear manages to squeeze in a 1.9-megapixel camera that can capture both photos and videos, and it works very closely with other Samsung Galaxy services you’re familiar with. For example, you can use S Voice to compose texts, make calendar appointments, set alarms and see the forecast hands-free.

There’s also something called Auto Lock that will lock your phone’s screen every time your watch is more than about five feet away. It can also interact with foreign language signs and translate for you. This is something that Samsung’s really been pushing.

Galaxy Gear Colours

Because of the limited screen real-estate your usual swiping and tapping is replaced by a series of vertical and horizontal swipes on the Galaxy Gear. Swipe left and right to see your different folders; there’s one for settings, another for apps, another for your photos, one for the pedometer, and so on. From any folder, you can swipe down from the top to return to the home screen.

Apparently the Galaxy Gear is also packing neat features such as being able to answer calls by just lifting your wrist to your ear when the phone rings. It’s also supposed to push emails you’re viewing right to the note screen when you look at a notification and then pick up the phone.

Battery life is claimed at a day of use – as with smartphones, this will depend how you use it no doubt. As you can use Samsung’s smartwatch as a Fitbit or FuelBand thanks to a built-in pedometer would that day include counting you miles as well as messing around with apps, taking calls, etc?

However it performs Samsung has defintely got the jump on Apple and Google, which are widely believed to be working on their own wrist-worn devices in what analysts expect to be the next phase of the mobile communications boom.

Galaxy Gear goes on sale September 25 in most of the world, and will be available in October in the US and Japan.

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