Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch lets you shoot photos and video from the wrist — but at a price


posted Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM EST


At yesterday's IFA conference in Germany, Samsung made waves by unveiling a smartwatch: a device that sits on your wrist, communicates with your phone, and is even capable of taking photos. The Samsung Galaxy Gear will feature not only a 320x320-resolution, 1.63-inch, Super AMOLED screen; single-core 800MHz processor; Bluetooth 4.0; an Accelerometer; a Gyroscope; and widespread app support, but also pack everything you need to record HD video (at 720P) and still photos. It has a 1.9-megapixel camera, a speaker, and two microphones — and you can see from the image to the right that the camera is on the band of the watch.

This isn't the first time we've seen a camera on a smartwatch (remember that weird Hyetis Crossbow?), but it is the first time we've seen one from a major manufacturer, that we know is going to come to market. But will people actually wear this device? And will taking pictures by pointing the side of your arm at something actually catch on?

There are a few other wrinkles in Samsung's plan to get this thing in widespread use. For one, it'll cost you $299, which is more than many smartphones. The other problems are that, according to early reports, the interface is sluggish, and the battery will only last for a day. It also sounds like, at launch, it will only work with two Samsung Galaxy devices: the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, with support for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note II getting added via software update. But even so, that's just five devices. There has been some discussion that it might be able to work with other Android devices if they use Android 4.3, but it's not really clear what the situation is.

But the real question is if people will pay $300 for a device that can take photos from your wrist. On the surface, it's no more bizarre than wearing a life-logging camera in your shirt pocket, or putting on Google Glass. And it certainly can't be more awkward than using your iPad to take a photo, which happens way more than it should. But with that pricetag, and those limitations, it'll be interesting to see if it takes off.