The folks over at GigaOm have heard from reliable sources everything we need to know about Samsung’s Gear smartwatch, a device rumored to hit the headlines about a week before Apple’s big new iPhone event. It’s complex, and confusing data for sure.
The Gear is going to have a touch-sensitive OLED screen of about 2.5 inches diagonally. It’ll have NFC for authentication and will connect to “smartphones” using Bluetooth 4.0 LE–a low energy system that should keep the device’s battery life up. It will have a camera in the strap and speakers in the clasp–implying it will also function as a Bluetooth headset so you could make calls from your wrist. A built-in accelerometer means it’ll be able to function as a health and fitness sensor, and also will turn on the screen when you bring the watch up to your eye to conserve battery otherwise.
The device sounds like a cleverer version of the i’m Watch Android smartphone, and far cleverer than the Pebble smartwatch “companion.”
But GigaOm notes that while the watch will be able to run apps, they’ll come from Samsung’s own app store rather than Google Play, which instantly limits the potential scope for third-party developers. It’s also said to run on Samsung proprietary commands shared over Bluetooth, and this seems to mean one thing: It’ll only run on Samsung smartphones. Yes, they’re highly popular, but Samsung is not Apple, and attracting coders to create apps for such a limited platform may be an uphill task. Considering Apple is said to be deep in development of its own iWatch, and can count on tens of thousands of developers, it’s going to be a tough battle.