Reports today indicate that Samsung will be delaying the release of its Galaxy Gear A smartwatch in order to allow the sizzle created by the Apple Watch to simmer down somewhat. This new smartwatch from Samsung is believed by sources close to the Korean Corporation to be called the Gear A, and it is intended to relaunch the concept of a Samsung smartwatch.
Galaxy Gear A faces challenges
The previous Samsung smartwatch releases have not been particularly successful for the corporation, which is something of a surprise considering the penetration which it has achieved in the mobile marketplace. Samsung was the market leader in pure sales terms in the mobile niche for many years, although Gartner has recently reported that Apple has marginally overtaken it.
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Nonetheless, the Galaxy range is extremely successful overall, and certainly a household name all over the planet. Yet the Galaxy Gear smartwatch has not been as successful for Samsung. Released to lukewarm reviews when it first hit the stores in September, 2013, Samsung was forced to update the series just over six months after this initial release. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Gear II was no more successful than its predecessor, and the lack of ability of Samsung to generate a market for its smartwatch has had a serious impact on the ability of wearables to achieve mainstream markets penetration.
With Samsung planning to release the Galaxy Note 5 later this year, it is fairly natural for the Gear A to be considered a companion device for the phablet. It was rumored for quite some time that Apple would indeed launch an iPhone device to be a companion for the Apple Watch, and although this never actually came to fruition it is still a strategy that makes obvious commercial and logistical sense.
Galaxy Gear A to launch at IFA
The Gear A is now expected to launch in the second half of the year – most likely at the IFA consumer electronics show in September. Samsung will then be able to unveil this new smartwatch at the same time that that consumers are afforded a glimpse of the Galaxy Note 5 for the first time.
According to sources close to Samsung, the delay in this device is intended to enable the Korean cooperation to follow a proper timetable with its product launches. Samsung may very well be thinking that the Galaxy Gear A will be a much more attractive proposition to consumers when it is allied to a new mobile release.
This notion correlates with Samsung’s previous public pronouncements. The Korean consumer electronics giant had previously stated that it intended to take a diligent approach with the next Gear smartwatch, and would not be pressured into rushing the release of this device. Samsung stated publicly that they intended to make the next Galaxy Gear release a more perfect product, and this would seem to be even more of a necessity after the successful release of Apple Watch.
Smartwatches have yet to really achieve a mainstream success, and this can be at least partly attributed to the fact that designer parameters have not been perfected as of yet. Apple has clearly given this is a very serious consideration with the release of the Apple Watch, with the corporation even releasing an Edition version of the watch which is intended to compete with luxury watch manufacturers such as Rolex and Cartier.
So Samsung is overhauling the design of the Galaxy Gear A to address this, and has reportedly settled on a round face for this forthcoming smartwatch. This would seem to be a sensible decision on behalf of Samsung, as such a design will obviously make the Gear A appear far more like a traditional watch. Aside from this new design, it is also reported that the Gear A will feature a bezel ring capable of rotating. Quite what the purpose of this particular design parameter is no-one quite knows, but it does suggest that Samsung is attempting to create something of a unique device.
Galaxy Gear A – round face
The predecessor to the Gear A, the Galaxy Gear S, is built around a curved rectangular face, and this didn’t create a particularly strong impression with any of the critical community, consumers or analysts when it was initially released. There were also functionality and usability issues with the smartwatch, and overall the Galaxy Gear series has certainly not been a successful one for Samsung thus far in its lifecycle.
Samsung made a brave decision to arm the original Galaxy Gear series with its home-grown operating system Tizen, as opposed to relying on Android Wear. This marked the device out as being distinct from its Galaxy mobile cousins, which all run off various versions of Android. What this effectively means is that the Galaxy Gear range will probably only remain compatible with other Samsung devices, which is a natural desire for Samsung, but a notion that has been criticized is some quarters as being anti-competitive and insular.
The Korean corporation was also forced to field criticism for failing to develop a circular smartwatch. Indeed, Samsung seems to have moved extremely slowly in this department, as the overwhelming majority of consumer electronics manufacturers interested in the smartwatch niche have long since conceded that round faces are simply preferable.
Considering that wristwatches are designed to be worn on one’s person at all times, and usually to be visible, it seems facile to assert that the physical appearance of the device is absolutely essential. Considering that timepieces are generally sold on this element alone, it seems a frankly bizarre decision to produce a rectangular smartwatch, given that watches are obviously traditionally circular.
Samsung’s latest smartwatch, the Gear S, has a curved 2.0 inch Super AMOLED screen, but this will naturally be altered significantly for the new Galaxy Gear a release. As Samsung continues to wrestle with its largely unsuccessful smartwatch series, it is clear that it is at least giving this product some serious thought and consideration, and it could result in a stronger Gear A release later this year.