Help! Twitter hates my smartwatch!

The Gear Fit and Galaxy S5

UPDATE / April 12: Below are some of the "robust" replies I received after tweeting a pic of a Samsung Gear 2 late Friday afternoon.

Some are having sport (and, jeez, I didn't have time to wax my arm this week, okay?). Still, where there's social media smoke, there's fire. A lot of the comments reflect the quips I got around the office, and elsewhere offline.

The tweets (scroll down), underline four challenges, which apply equally to all smartwatch makers:

1) Fashion. Smartphones are already a style accessory, but watches are another level again. Can a smart watch cut it as male or female jewelry? Often a watch has sentimental value, collector value or snob value far in excess of a $399 gadget around your wrist.

2) Smart watches will date rapidly, but people won't want to buy a new watch every year. Tons of people happily trade up from last year's $1000 smartphone to this year's $1000 smartphone every 12 months or 24 months. But a phone is often subsidised, with a low or no upfront cost if you take a contact (which, if you're lucky, your company pays for or you can claim as an expense). A smartwatch has no SIM card. It has to be tethered to a smartphone, so in a way is just an accessory - and a full cost accessory at that. This year's smartphones have much better battery life than last year's. Flexible screens will be on the way next year. Who wants to be on a watch-buying treadmill?

3. Battery life. A deal-breaker with many first-generation smartwatches, including Samsung's Gear 1. I've only had my Gear 2 for 24 hours - but the battery's still going. That already means it beats the Gear I (and it's better at waking up from sleep mode - which again kicks in within seconds in the default setup). Hopefully it's going to last another three as advertised.

4. Seamless phone syncing. So far the Gear 2 has proved much smoother in this department, and for bonus points, it now syncs with a wide spread of Samsung's latest phones and tablets. The onscreen prompts on the watch are easy to follow, and I could sync, via Bluetooth, literally within a minute. Still, just saying you have to wirelessly pair your watch with your phone is going to make many potential buyers roll their eyes. It just sounds too finicky.


Samsung releases Galaxy S5, new smart watches in NZ - previews

April 11: Samsung has released its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5 ($1049) in NZ today, plus three new "wearables" , or smart watches.

Sorry, people reading my print column authored Tuesday who headed to this URL: I'd hoped to have a hands-on review by now, but the kit didn't show Wednesday or Thursday.

Meantime here's a link to NBR's earlier preview of the S5, plus a preview of the smartwatches.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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