The Gear S, really? Samsung is bingeing on smartwatches, and it’s not a healthy habit
Between Samsung's seventh smartwatch in a year, a new Android Wear update, and the unveiling of LG's stunning G Watch R, the IFA gadget show in Berlin is shaping up to be a wearables extravaganza. Jon Phillips riffs on it all.
Wearables right or wrong? Samsung is bingeing on smartwatches, and it’s not a healthy habit. That’s right.
Listen Samsung, when you released the the Galaxy Gear in 2013, your smartwatch effort was admirable. Poor execution mind you, but we applauded the effort. Then came the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, and the Gear Fit. That is a lot of smartwatches, but OK, you’re in to this. And ambition does count for something.
But then came the highly theoretical Simband. And then the Gear Live. And now, yikes, the humongous Gear S. That’s seven smartwatches in less than a year, and your last one is basically a smartphone with wrist straps. Samsung you have to stop. This is not healthy behavior. We’re a little concerned.
Wearables Right or Wrong? The upcoming Android Wear update will be epic. That’s wrong. So Google just shared details about its Android Wear update schedule, and it looks like the really cool stuff will have to wait a while. In an update going live this week, Google is promising improvements in navigation and voice control. These are welcome, but only incremental additions.
What I’m really looking forward to is support for for Bluetooth headphones and GPS. The Bluetooth support will let you listen to music stored on your watch, while GPS will enable better exercise tracking. And both features would let you leave your phone at home during workouts.
Google says these updates will come by the end of the year, but they can’t come soon enough if Apple’s iWatch is positioned as an exercise device.
Wearables Right or Wrong? LG’s G Watch R is now the Android Wear watch to beat. That’s right. OK, it is exceedingly risky to name winners and losers until I’ve put every watch on my wrist, but the new G Watch R appears to be the best-looking Android Wear watch we’ll see this year. It’s got a circular display like the Moto 360, but LG add an important design cue that these other watches lack. In a word, the G Watch R has lugs.
That’s right: lugs. These are the sturdy, chunky pieces of architecture that connect the watch to its straps. They give the G Watch R serious presence, making it look like a real sports watch, instead of a gadget from Skymall. Of course, all bets are off if LG’s display washes out in sunlight. I know I want an Android Wear watch with a round display, but outside legibility outside could be a deciding factor.