I’m on a quest to replace my beloved Pebble smartwatch. The most recommended replacement in our comments? The Gear S3 Frontier. After spending some time with it, is my quest over? Let’s take a look!
Was a high price tag the critical component missing from Google’s Android Wear sales strategy? If recent reports from Tag Heuer are any indication, apparently consumers were concerned that these new wearable tech pieces weren’t expensive enough.
Bloomberg is reporting that the Louis Vuitton owned brand completely underestimated the demand for their new Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch, which is clad in Titanium and Sapphire and powered by Google’s OS. It’s a sexy watch body and a rubber strap with a price tag starting at $1500. It’s aiming above the mid-range pricing for Apple’s steel and sapphire smartwatch.
We’ve seen a number of tech companies trying to solve the fashion problem of strapping tech to your wrist. Offerings from LG, Huawei, and Motorola have failed to find significant traction beyond the tech fans already buying into the Android ecosystem however.
The thing we geeks never seem to understand though, is the idea of style which a consumer might be willing to pay more for. Apple is one of the few tech companies managing this transition from “Geek” to “Chic” as they morph into a lifestyle brand. The Apple Watch was years late to the smartwatch game, but easily overtook the market in its first year of existence.
We geeks might rant about the technology in competing watches being overly similar when comparing processors and screen resolution. If two gadgets have the same guts, shouldn’t they have the same price? I’ve gotten into visceral arguments with people using that argument, dogmatically ignoring things like build quality. Sure, two tablets might have the same processor, RAM, and storage. Though when one tablet is made out of plastic, and another is made out of injection molded magnesium, we should expect a price difference.
Again, we see this toxic “worth it” discussion coming from the techies. “It doesn’t do enough for the price.” “It’s not worth it for the monies.” “I would buy it if it magically read my mind, did my dishes, walked my dog, and only cost a half a ham sandwich.”
Watches though aren’t really technology products anymore. They used to serve a very practical purpose, at a glance delivery of the time, but now are fashion statements. No amount of functionality will convince someone to strap one on if it clashes with their sense of style. In this day and age, the label on the product often helps define what that style is.
Tag Heuer expected production of 1200 watches a week would be sufficient to meet demand. They’re so far behind that even after ramping up production to 2000 units a week, they don’t expect that they’ll be able to re-open online sales until May or June of 2016. It’s overly cynical to suggest that people just waited until they had a higher price tag to throw money at a product. When showing off an expensive fashion product, the Tag Heuer name carries a lot more recognition from peers than the Huawei name. That kind of “exclusivity” isn’t particularly valued by people looking to make a statement.
Fitness trackers are flourishing, people understand their function, it’s hip to be improving your health, and people can overlook the gym style as there’s no expectation that you’ll wear a Fitbit with a pair of slacks or a suit.
Did Android Wear just need the name? Does the Louis Vuitton company have the reputation to start carving out a more legitimate niche for wearables?
It’s a sexy little smartwatch watch, and you’ll be able to score one for a much lower price on Black Friday!
There’s going to be a 24 hour sale on the Huawei Watch where the most expensive variant, the black steel body with black steel bracelet, will be $100 off on most major retailers like Amazon, BestBuy, Target, Google Play, and Huawei’s site.
That’s more than 20% off. Not bad at all for a premium wearable made out of steel and sapphire which already costs less than a watch band from Apple (Apple Watch Not Included).
We recently reviewed the Huawei Watch, and you can check out this Android Wearable below!
In my recent #SGGQA Podcast I bemoaned the amount of gestures on Wear watches which required me to swipe the screen. There’s a near permanent cross of fingerprint grease in the middle of any Wear watch face.
Google must have been listening to my show, as they’ve sneakily revealed new gesture and wrist action controls for the next Android Wear update.
The last update introduced a twisting action to help you scan through cards and notifications. This now extends to dropping the quick settings located at the top of the watch. The App menu can be accessed by “dropping” your wrist quickly while holding your arm in front of you.
The arm drop can also be used to slide through notification cards. A pivot up action can slide yo back out of a card, and a quick wrist shake takes you back to your home watch face, kinda like clearing out an etch-a-sketch.
These might sound like small improvements, but anything which prevents me from having to use both hands to control a device designed to simplify my interaction with notifications will be a welcome change.
Let’s chat about the state of smartwatches! Also, should home broadband data be billed like a utility? And I’ll answer some of my favorite viewer questions of the week! Make sure you’re charged and ready! It’s Podcast time!
The original Gear S was a beast of a smartwatch experiment, blending a large curved display with a 3G cell radio. Their follow up looks to be more subtle and refined.
The Gear S2 aims to blend in more, looking like a more traditional timepiece, and it’s the company’s first circular watch face. A 1.2″ screen with a 360×360 resolution, in an 11.4mm thin frame. The smaller screen means Samsung can also shave a little size off the battery and continue offering 2-3 days of use on a charge.
This will not be an Android Wear affair, powered by Samsung produced dual core CPU, it’s a Tizen OS watch designed specifically to pair with Samsung phones. NFC on board will tie directly into Samsung Pay for mobile payments.
There will be two flavors of Gear S2, a BT and WiFi only model and the S2 3G which incorporates an “e-SIM” for voice and data services when not directly paired to a phone. Two color options will be available, silver and dark grey, and there will be different band options for those watch bodies.
We don’t have pricing info yet, but Samsung expects the Gear S2 to start shipping in October. You can read the full press release below.
We also have confirmation on styles, and pricing. A classic stainless steel body with a black leather strap will start at $349, moving to a steel bracelet will bump up the price to $399. The Black Steel body and bracelet will cost $499, and the rose gold watch will cost $699 and $799 with Alligator leather strap and rose gold bracelet respectively.
The tech on board seems like ballpark Android Wear. A 1.4″ AMOLED screen with a 400×400 resolution should look nice and crisp. The Snapdragon 400 CPU is well known, and with current software is a snappy performer on other watches. Plus, we’re happy to see WiFi and 4GB of storage listed as features.
It’s a good looking timepiece. You can read Huawei’s full announcement below!
Sure Apple has their own watch, but if you’ve been eyeing the diversity of hardware in the Google ecosystem with envy, now you can use Android Wear without giving up your precious iPhone.
Starting today, any iPhone running iOS 8.2 or higher can install the Wear companion app through iTunes. Compatible with all current Wear watches, and you’ll have access to features like your notifications, fitness tracking, and “OK Google” voice search.
I know you’ve been checking out those round watch faces like the LG G Watch R… Don’t lie… You can catch the full press release below.
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