Wearable computing has supposedly been the next big thing for a while now, but what wearables can you actually walk into a store and buy today? Sure, you have Pebble, fitness trackers and a few other smaller projects, but we're still waiting for the big guns from the Apples, Samsungs, and Googles of the world. That may soon change, though, as Samsung is reportedly going to pull back the curtain on its smartwatch, the so-called Galaxy Gear, next month.
The scoop comes from Bloomberg, whose sources say the "wristwatch-like smartphone" will share the spotlight with the Galaxy Note 3 phablet at the company's Mobile Unpacked 2 event on September 4.
Rumored detailsSo what will the Galaxy Gear do? Well, sources say the Android-running smartwatch will "make phone calls, surf the Web and handle e-mails." That's a pretty short (and quite possibly incomplete) list for a 2013 mobile device. But if it's handling them natively, rather than passing along notifications from another device (as Pebble does), then even that short list would make for an industry first.
No word yet on display size or resolution, but a separate report from the well-connected Sammobile suggests that the device will sport a dual core Samsung Exynos processor, along with 1 GB of RAM. Those would be pretty mid-range specs by 2013 smartphone standards, but when we're talking about wrist-based computing, things like form factor and battery life are going to take precedence over raw horsepower.
One thing that the Gear reportedly won't have is a flexible display. Earlier rumors, supported by a Samsung patent claim, had said the Korean company was developing the wrist-based computer with a bendy, flexy display in tow. If Bloomberg's sources have their facts straight, though, it looks like that was thrown out.
Beating Apple to the punch?Again assuming this is all legit, it's now looking more likely that the Gear will beat the rumored Apple smartwatch (possibly called iWatch) to market. After several smash hits over the last decade, this is the dilemma today's Apple faces: as soon as word leaks of a major new Apple product in development, its fiercest rivals jump on the case, if they weren't already on it. The iWatch was originally rumored to launch late this year, but more recent chatter pointed to battery life issues pushing that back to late 2014.
Of course, just because Samsung is allegedly announcing the Galaxy Gear in September doesn't mean its launch will necessarily follow soon after. After all, Google first showcased Glass in mid 2012, and it's still only available for a small group of developers and "Explorer" guinea pigs.