The latest wearable devices are smartwatches: Galaxy Gear, SmartWatch2 and Toq.
Galaxy Gear: Samsung’s debut smartwatch
Among the new devices the Korean giant unveiled at this year’s IFA was its very first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, which offers a number of advantages over its competitors, including 4 GB of memory.
It picks up notifications and controls music, but is more than just a remote interface for your primary connected device - it practically replaces it: using the built-in speaker and microphone, you can actually make and receive calls (not as a standalone phone but via a Bluetooth connection to your Samsung Galaxy device), and record voice memos.
This watch also has a 1.9-megpixel BSI sensor camera for taking pictures and videos, a pedometer and can be used as a fitness assistant.
Unlike the Sony SmartWatch, the Galaxy Gear can currently only be used with a Galaxy Note 3 smartphone (also unveiled at IFA 2013) or Galaxy 10.1 tablet. An update for the Galaxy SIII and S4 is due to be released in 2014. Some 70 apps are currently available for the Galaxy Gear, including one which can locate a hidden Galaxy Note 3 using the SVoice virtual assistant. The Galaxy Gear is currently available for pre-order (price around €290).
- 63-inch Super AMOLED display at 320x320 resolution
- Charging: via Micro-USB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
- Battery life: 25 hours (according to the manufacturer)
- Weight: 73 g
Sony’s 2nd smartwatch is waterproof
Sony made its first foray into the connected watch sector over a year ago with its SmartWatch (see the emedia article). At IFA 2013, it launched a second version, which has the distinct advantage of being compatible not only with Sony devices but any Android smartphones (running version 4.1 and upwards).
Another new feature: the SmartWatch2 is shock and water- resistant for depths of up to 1m (IP_Code). It also boasts a touchscreen and vibrating alert when new calls, texts or emails are received or for calendar notifications. A kind of remotely-controlled interface for your smartphone, it can also remotely manage playlists and set off the smartphone’s camera. Price: around €200 (TBC).
- Display: 1.6 inches (4 cm), LCD, resolution 220 x 176 px
- Battery life: 3-4 days (according to the manufacturer)
- Charging: via Micro-USB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0 (and NFC for smartphone connections)
- Weight: 122 g (including strap)
Toq to me… with Qualcomm
More than just a gizmo that tells the time, the Toq, Qualcomm’s first smartwatch, is designed to promote Qualcomm’s technologies. Like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, the Toq can place and receive calls. Unlike its competitors, however, it boasts a Mirasol display, battery life of 5 days, Bluetooth headset and wireless charging dock. Qualcomm’s model is a limited edition, available only in North America.
Smartwatches: further reading
- The smartwatch market according to Canalys: 330,000 Sony and Motorola devices were sold in 2012, 500,000 in 2013 (with Pebble), and an estimated 5 million smartwatches set to be sold in 2014.
- Pebble, the Android and iOS-compatible smartwatch
- MOTOACTV: Motorola’s device
- WIMM Labs, the smartwatch maker bought out by Google in August 2013
- Overview of smartwatch projects being developed by Microsoft, Google, LG, etc.