ABTW: Now, to the Galaxy Gear: at a high level, what are your initial impressions of the new device, as both a watch and a tech guy?
OM: So I have not played around with it. It is a $300 watch, which works with Samsung devices for now — so it is a tad expensive. I find the quality a bit of a letdown and like I said, they have not focused enough on the aesthetics. But from technology inside point of view, Samsung has done a good job, though not enough for me to replace my current analog/mechanical watch.
ABTW: While the watch should pair to any modern phone (via Bluetooth LE), it seems that out-of-the-box compatibility is limited to just a few Samsung devices (the Note 3 and Note 10.1). Do you think this helps or hurts the watch?
OM: Pretty much every company is going to try and do proprietary watches. What Samsung is doing is nothing different. I think they needed to get this to market and this is a short term issue and I don’t think it will be a big deal in a few months/years. As I reported originally, Galaxy Gear will work with an iPhone, though I bet the integration is going to be well, not that great.
ABTW: Battery life is another closely monitored spec on these smartwatches – how do you think the Galaxy Gear is going to hold up in real-world usage, estimated currently at 24 hours?
OM: Battery life is the achilles heel of the entire digital ecosystem and there is a lot more work that needs to be done to overcome this stumbling block. There are a lot of technologies people are experimenting with, but don’t hold your breath.
ABTW: What are your thoughts of a camera, microphone, and speakers being mounted on the watch – useful, or gimmick?
OM: Useful in a gimmicky sort of way. I like the camera though — it could create a whole different angle of selfie. #joke. On the microphone and speakers, my view is why not? It could be a great way to send instructions back to Google Now and get answers from it.
ABTW: How do you feel the Gear will impact the segment – is it just another “also ran,” or is it going to force other players to elevate their products?
OM: No, it will create a new buzz around the sector and more devices will follow. This is a positive aspect for the smartwatch movement.
ABTW: The styling of the watch seems to be a mix of industrial and sporty. How does it fit into the larger Galaxy design language?
OM: I think you answered the question – it is trying to do too many things for too many people. I think the next version should be much more interesting in my opinion.
ABTW: Last, but not least – would you wear the Galaxy Gear?
OM: Nope. It isn’t impressive enough to replace my Nomos Orion — that bauhaus dial design has a sense of serenity and a balance that is hard to match.
Our thanks to Om for taking time from his schedule to talk to us about this latest development, and give us his unique view on smartwatches.
Keep up with the latest news and analysis in the smartwatch space on aBlogtoWatch »