Samsung Electronics Co. planted its flag in the battle over wearable devices Wednesday, unveiling a digital watch that can run apps and interact with its own family of smartphones.
Samsung, which raced ahead of Apple Inc. last year to become the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, is attempting to shake off long-running criticism that it has been a follower rather than an innovator in the competitive market for high-end devices.
The release of the Galaxy Gear, which is slated to go on sale Sept. 25 for $299, comes ahead of an expected smartwatch from Apple. But the technological limitations of Samsung’s device, and of others like it on the market, raise questions as to whether this category will take off with consumers.
As Samsung showed off the Galaxy Gear at a trade show in Berlin, Qualcomm Inc. announced plans to ship a new color-display smartwatch, the Toq, in the fourth quarter. The company said the gadget, which works as a companion to smartphones with Google Inc.’s Android operating system, will be available in a “limited edition” for about $300. In June, Sony Corp. unveiled its own Android-based smartwatch expected to start selling this month.
Neil Mawston, an executive director at research firm Strategy Analytics, said smartwatch manufacturers are “clearly still in the experimental phase today of trying to figure out what consumers and businesses really want.”
“The first generation of smartwatches this year, from Samsung and others, is likely to see modest global sales in the near-term,” Mr. Mawston said, forecasting 1.2 million smartwatches to be shipped world-wide in 2013, rising to 7 million in 2014.
The Galaxy Gear, which has Continue reading “Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch”