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.
— Chris Keall (@ChrisKeall) April 11, 2014
That'll be the watch pic.twitter.com/BeiMnWlwA4
— Chris Keall (@ChrisKeall) April 11, 2014
— Ian Havill (@iHavill) April 11, 2014
@ChrisKeall jaysus! Did your arm shrink in the wash?
— paulbrislen (@paulbrislen) April 11, 2014
— Bruce Buckman (@BruceBuckman) April 11, 2014
@ChrisKeall looks great! Times aren't synced though? That would wind me up
— James Nutt (@JamesNutt11) April 11, 2014
@ChrisKeall it's pretty nice, eh?
— Owen Williams (@ow) April 11, 2014
@ChrisKeall It's hairier than I thought.
— Scott Bartley (@scottbartley) April 11, 2014
— Sir William Bennett (@billbennettnz) April 11, 2014
— Dee Crooks (@DeeCrooks) April 11, 2014
@ChrisKeall do you hold it up to your ear to answer?
— Mark Rushworth (@mrushworth) April 11, 2014
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.
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