It's almost the end of 2013. The Galaxy Gear has been released along with the Note III. Other companies have already set the smaller stage for Samsung's head-first plunge into wearable computing. But are these true gadgets or just gimmicks?
To explain my position; I have a Motorola Motoactv. I've had it for about 6 months now. I used it for about 2 months and then went back to using my Ipod nano 6th gen on its little watch band. The Moto just didn't have enough battery life or community support. There is only one rom developer actively putting stuff out for it. Now look at my nano. It's not really a smart watch, but what it does do is play music and tell the time flawlessly. And it looks sexy doing it. I've been wearing one with my headphone cord snaked up my arm and out the top of my shirt for over a year now. Music is awesome. It has become a necessity for me to do my job well. I work faster when I am blasting dubstep to my heart's content. But what if I wanted more? (and I do).
Just as Samsung did when they released the Note line which resulted in the term 'phablet' being coined, they are taking a chance at trying to bring intelligent watches into the mainstream. This seems to have become a viable market after the success of the Pebble smart watch and the I'm watch. These were both crowd-funded though. Samsung did theirs all on their own. And several other large companies are following suit.
I have just spent several hours researching these devices; eager to add one to a cart and complete checkout. But I hesitated. I have decided to wait until further into the year before making the mistake of dropping $300+ on something that only does half of what I want when something else might come long soon.
So down to it: What do these things do? And what are they lacking?
Most of these watches use a low energy bluetooth protocol to grab info from your phone and display it on your watch... much like a mini display for your phone. But they are dependent on that bluetooth connection and cannot act on their own. Some of them have storage options for music and photos and can then use their own BT connection to connect to wireless headphones (which is a good thing). Some, like the original Sony Smart watch are basically a remote control for your phone, serving no real purpose.
I got the Motoactv because it runs Android and can be rooted. It has a headphone jack which is my preference. Storage for music and apps. But it does not have newer low power wifi or bluetooth, so the battery does not last... Plus the unit itself is a brick on my wrist compared to my ipod.
The I'm watch is sleek and has longer battery life, but can only tether one connection at a time. So no bluetooth headset to listen to music with because its already connected to your phone. Also, it does not instantly push notifications to the watch. They usually come in 20 minute intervals. This may have been fixed... but if it hasn't... Who wants to get a 20 minute old text?
The Galaxy Gear seems to be able to handle all of these, and even has a built in camera (Mr. Bond), but the band is not removable, so if you mess it up, you are out $300. The battery life has been said to be lackluster and there is no easy way of charging it without the cradle it comes with. It also relies on proprietary apps on your phone, so if you want it to push from the Gmail app that we all usually use and love... no dice.
Just a few things i've considered in my research. Once I find one I like and decide to buy it, i will do a full review on it.