Tech Biz

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch: Photos Leak Ahead of Launch

Tech analysts expect the Android-powered watch to be released on September 4.

Just days before an anticipated September 4 unveiling, photos of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch have surfaced online. The photos show an alleged developer prototype and were obtained through an anonymous source, according to Venture Beat. Samsung, Sony, Apple, and other players in the technology business are in a race to launch their own takes on the wearable technology – a segment on the tech industry that has seen increased interest since the advent of Google Glass.

Venture Beat claims that the leaked images were taken from a promotional video for the Galaxy Gear – they are not photos of the physical device. The marketing video was developed by an outside entity, not Samsung directly. The gadget’s sheer size is perhaps the most intriguing revelation.

“At about 3 inches diagonally, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is quite large. Although its screen is square, large bezels on the top and bottom give it a chunky, rectangular shape, with rounded corners,” said Venture Beat. “The color is fairly basic – dark black and gray, although it may be enhanced in the final version. The wristband is clunky and masculine, large enough to hold speakers in the clasp.”

The Samsung Galaxy Gear will likely target a health-and-fitness-conscious audience. It will sport multiple sensors and come pre-loaded with an array of apps to promote a user’s wellbeing – such as a heart rate monitor, a caloric intake monitor, and a pedometer. A 4MP camera built into the strap will allow users to take photos of food and “tag” it by category.

“Although the prototype seems to suggest that Samsung is marketing the device as a health accessory, those aforementioned features also fill the bill for a standard smartphone companion. The watch is also reportedly rated to last for more than ten hours on a single charge — a little shy in longevity if it's your primary timepiece, but perhaps enough for a fitness-focused accessory,” Engadget said.

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The Verge added: “[Galaxy Gear] may not take the place of your timepiece, but Samsung's smartwatch could appeal to fans of fitness trackers like the Nike Fuelband and Jawbone Up.”

Aside from health-oriented features, the Galaxy Gear will support social media integration, a call log, and internet access via Wi-Fi (which means that it can probably be used without Bluetooth-tethering it to a smartphone). It will also utilize NFC and will likely be powered by a 1.5GHz Exynos 4212 CPU.

Unfortunately, if the leaked images prove to be authentic, the Galaxy Gear will not include the much-hyped curved OLED display panel that seemed to interest many potential buyers. Maybe someday, Galaxy Gear 2.0 will manage to include a flexible screen.

IFA kicks off in Berlin on September 4 – expect Galaxy Gear to show its true form then.