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Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch launched at IFA 2013

The Samsung Galaxy Gear has been launched at IFA 2013, marking what is likely to become the most high-profile smart watch to date.

As the watch’s Galaxy name suggests, the Samsung Galaxy Gear runs Android. It uses Android 4.3, the latest version currently available – Android 4.4 KitKat having only been announced last night.

Although it runs its own version of Android, the Galaxy Gear is designed primarily to connect with other Galaxy-series phones, such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3.

“Samsung GALAXY Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives,” says Samsung CEO JK Shin. It “bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology.”

Samsung Galaxy Gear Specs and Features
In order to stay watch-like in its dimensions, the Galaxy Gear uses a fairly small 1.63-inch screen of 320 x 320 pixel resolution. That gives it pixel density of 277ppi. This is significantly higher-res than the 176ppi 220 x 276 pixel display of the Sony SmartWatch 2.

The screen is a Super AMOLED display, which should help to boost clarity, especially indoors.

A relatively low-end 800MHz processor powers the Samsung Galaxy Gear, but more grunt is not really needed as most of the legwork is still performed by the phone connected to the watch.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear connects with other Galaxy devices using Bluetooth 4.0. This latest version of Bluetooth, often called Bluetooth Smart, requires far less power than previous version of the standard.

Its primary predictable functions are to relay notifications from your phone, to let you make calls and to act as a sport watch. The tech that allows this encompasses a pair of microphones (the second allowing noise cancellation), a speaker, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The Galaxy Gear does not have GPS, though, meaning it’s not a true replacement for a dedicated sport watch.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear also has a 1.9-megapixel camera, allowing you to record video memos and take pics, and 4GB of internal memory.

Extra functions other than calling and, well, the clock, are provided through apps. These range from Android favourites like Evernote, eBay and Runkeeper to less well-known apps like the Line messenger and the Pocket app that optimises web content for your gear. Apps have been optimised for the Gear itself, and Samsung says many more are being worked on at present.

As Evernote CEO Phil Libin says, “”The potential for wearable devices is incredibly exciting. Evernote strives to be a second brain, providing information to people when and how they need it, so they can lead better, smarter lives.”

Samsung Galaxy Gear Design
The frame of the Samsung Galaxy Gear is made from aluminium, but remains fairly light at 74g.

It comes in six colours – Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Rose Gold, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, and Lime Green (to use Samsung’s naming). The Gear also lets you customise what the watch face looks like, with 10 faces included fresh out of the box.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear will initially start shipping on 25 September,

Next, read more about the Sony Xperia Z1

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