Samsung unveils Galaxy Gear smartwatch with 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen, built-in camera, 70 apps

This week’s Galaxy Gear prototype leak didn’t leave much to the imagination. Samsung’s new wearable was expected to debut with a built-in camera, speakers and a relatively clunky design, all of which are indeed present on the device we’re meeting today. But we now have quite a bit more clarity when it comes to functionality and specifications — the rumored 3-inch display size and 4-megapixel camera resolution, for example, were incorrect. The Gear will instead ship with a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 320 x 320. That strap-mounted camera, for its part, is designed to capture low-res shots and 10-second 720p videos, and includes a 1.9-megapixel BSI sensor and an auto-focus lens.

The big surprise here is third-party applications support — there will be a total of 70 partner programs at launch, including sharing apps like Evernote and Path, fitness companions like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal, and a handful of other offerings, such as TripIt, Line, Vivino and even eBay. We’ll dive into software functionality a bit more in our hands-on, so for now, let’s talk compatibility and specs. We were caught a bit off guard by the wearable’s limited compartability thoImageugh — at launch, it’ll only work with the Note 3 and Note 10.1, though some Galaxy S4 owners may be able to take advantage soon, after that device scores an update to Android 4.3. Assuming your handset is compatible, the Gear will serve as a companion device, enabling access to features like S Voice, Find My Device, a pedometer and third-party additions including those outlined above.

The device is powered by an 800MHz processor and a 315 mAh non-removable cell, which Samsung reps say should provide up to a day of “regular” use. There are two built-in mics (with noise cancellation support), a speaker, Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer and gyroscope, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. The Galaxy Gear will eventually ship, along with the Note 3, to more than 140 countries. Pricing and country-specific availability has yet to be confirmed, but some customers should expect to have it in hand (or on hand, rather) beginning September 25th. Sadly, customers in the US and Japan will have to wait until October to pick one up for $299.


THE MAN BEHIND THE PROJECT …Pranav Mistry ,tweets photos taken with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch

While a few reviews have claimed that the 1.9 megapixel camera of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch is of poorer quality than a typical smartphone camera, but it does not seem to be the case. Pranav Mistry, the man behind the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, has tweeted a couple of pictures taken with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The quality of these photos is decent, which hint that the camera embedded in the strap of the watch can capture pictures of acceptable quality under good lighting conditions.galaxy-gear-080913 galaxy-gear-2-080913