The Galaxy Gear has garnered a lot of attention for smartwatches, but the fact that it’s only currently compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 is a little limiting. Samsung officially announced today that they’ll be expanding the line up of phones that can talk to Gear.
Posted on Samsung’s Google Plus profile:
Today we’re announcing that the #GALAXYGear will be compatible with the #GALAXYS4 , #GALAXYSIII and #GALAXYNoteII via the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update starting this month. In addition, the GALAXY S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3 and S4 Zoom will also support the GALAXY Gear through a separate software update at the end of October.
Of course you have to filter updates through carriers too, but hopefully this means if you’re using one of the above phones and were thinking of trying Gear, your wait wont be much longer.
(via Samsung G+)
Pulling up the press release and seeing the picture I was a bit surprised. Previous experiments with curving screens on phones like the Galaxy Nexus usually involved curving the display from top to bottom, contouring the phone for the side of your head. The Galaxy Round takes a different approach…
The Round’s 5.7″ screen is curved from side to side, and Samsung claims this side to side curving makes the phone easier to hold and use. It could also mean that this phone will feel narrower than traditional phablets.
I think it’s an interesting experiment in design, and I’ll be curious to see how consumers respond. One nice advantage, the phone’s screen is harder to scratch if the phone is ever placed face down on a table. That curve provides a little clearance.
Samsung Tomorrow spent a little time with the handset and shot this video of one of the new gestures:
Hardware on board seems to be current high-end, similar to what you might find in the Note 3. It’ll launch tomorrow in South Korea for a little more than $1000, but there’s no official word on pricing and availability elsewhere.
(via Samsung Tomorrow)
I like finding quirky, new, and unique accessories for personalizing our technology. Toast in Portland is one of my favorite finds this year. Using wood and leather surfaces which are laser cut and engraved to precisely fit our phones and our personalities.
Let’s take a look at how I turned my Galaxy Note 2 into a wooden phone!
For more info check out: http://ToastMade.com
My interview with Toast CEO Matias Brecher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x1YOTRaFg0
I keep telling you people, the actual gadget matters less than the ecosystem of customers+hardware+software+accessories. You can’t fake that. Customers will not be impressed by one new handset no matter how good it is. Every manufacturer wants to jump into this market and sell as well as the iPhone does. It’ll never happen, and people forget that the iPhone didn’t just waltz into the smartphone market without some teething pains. Anymore, a company needs to show us at least three years of steady growth, refinement, and support before they’ll start to crack into consumer awareness.
Well wouldn’t you know it, Microsoft is getting to that three year point, and I’m starting to see the occasional Windows Phone out in the wild. Here stateside, MS is a distant third place competitor growing to only around 3% of the smartphone market, stealing the third spot from Blackberry. Recently announced by analysts at Kantar World Panel however, Windows Phone is cracking into double digit share in Europe. WP is within one percent of the iPhone in Germany, makes up 10% of the French market, and stands at 12% in Great Britain. Averaging the five largest European markets Windows Phone is currently at 9%.
The Nokia brand still counts for a lot in those markets, especially the blend of unique design and bleeding edge camera technology. Unfortunately Nokia somewhat abandoned us here in the States, so they’re pretty much rebuilding their consumer base from scratch. We do get to see some very general trends though, and from my anecdotal experiences, the push into entry level devices is serving Nokia very well. Doesn’t hurt that outlets like CNET can’t figure out the difference between a phone which costs $100 out the door, and a phone which costs $100 on contract. Surprisingly, Nokia’s 520 does a remarkably good job of competing against phones which cost four times as much.
Plus with a two faction war between Apple and Samsung, those consumers who want something a little different only have Microsoft to turn to. Never underestimate someone’s desire to go a little hipster. We live in an age where new smartphone consumers will know Apple like people from my generation saw Microsoft.
Read the full write up at Kantar World Panel.
Better late than never I suppose?
If you’ve been looking for a nice mid-range Android experience in a smaller form factor than the 4.5″ and larger screened premier handsets, the GS3 Mini could be one to check out. Happily, we know that Google is looking towards improving Android efficiency, and app developers will likely be supporting dual-core handsets for some time yet as phones like The Moto X offer a premier experience with lower power internals.
This 4″ screen is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. Expect all of the Samsung favorites like TouchWiz, S-Beam, S-Voice, Smart Stay eye tracking, a Super AMOLED screen, and a 5MP camera. All this in a form factor which should be easier to use one-handed.
And while the GS3 Mini is still a perfectly reasonable solution for a smaller form factor Android, it strikes me as more than a little odd that AT&T is making this play with a phone released last November. Especially as they currently sport the very nice HTC One Mini, which was released a little less than a month ago.
Thankfully, I think AT&T has absolutely nailed the pricing, as the GS3 Mini will come in at 99 cents with a two year contract. The slightly older hardware is a little easier to understand when you’ll get a mid-range experience for practically free on contract.
Check out all the deets on AT&T’s GS3 Mini site!
We’re you hoping to be the first cool kid on your block to rock some Dick Tracy style smartphone wrist action?
AT&T is now taking pre-orders for the Galaxy Gear, so you best get while the getting’s good. I don’t know exactly what that last sentence means, but continuing to read this is wasting precious time better spent on setting up your pre-order.
Expect to drop $299 on Galaxy Gear, and it should arrive sometime in October… Probably around the time the Note 3 drops… Because synergy. Yeah!
I like rugged!
Being able to use our delicate tech in challenging environments is becoming a very important topic for me. A 5″ screen is a lot of glass to potentially shatter while in the middle of a hike or out on a job site. Body Glove is offering up a new ShockSuit case for Galaxy S4 owners looking to add protection without adding a ton of bulk.
Shop Body Glove cases on Amazon!
The Active uses a lower res camera sensor than the regular GS4, and it’s one we’re very familiar with. First making an appearance on the GS3 and Note 2, this sensor doesn’t hold any surprises, though Samsung’s camera app has improved over the successive phones utilizing this hardware.
It does come with one really neat trick though. How waterproof is your current smartphone?
Let’s take a look.