I can't help but be excited to see the Galaxy Gear 2Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
If you have any doubt that 2014 is going to be a big year for wearable devices, you should just look over the impressive roster of devices that have been announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. I think we all knew that there were going to be plenty of wearables at the show, but it's honestly quite impressive to see how many companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Moreover, it's interesting to see *how* they're following the movement: whether it's a smartwatch, or a band that's focused on your health.
There are plenty of options and alternatives. Pebble introduces a new watch, and Sony's got their own wearable tech to show off this year. There are too many to list, but all of them will hopefully bring something to the market. Even if a lot of them never see the limelight, or reach a million sales, all we can really hope as consumers is that they push the market forward -- and we ultimately see new, better devices down the line.
Pebble is probably a company that a lot of wearable technology fans were watching during the trade event. Wanting to see what was next from the company that, in reality, kicked off the wearable trend way back in 2012. But, there are other companies that people have their sights set on that didn't show anything off at CES that would pique the wearable fan's interest.
Apple isn't usually at CES, and we all know that the market is waiting to see what their wearable device looks like, what it features, and what it can do. It's still being called the iWatch right now, but there's no real guarantee that it's a watch, like Pebble's, at all. It could very well be a device built around your health, much like Nike's FuelBand.
The general belief is that 2014 is going to be the year that Apple does indeed show off their wearable technology, whatever it may be, so you know that other companies around the globe are keeping a sharp eye on what the Cupertino-based company is up to.
Samsung is one of those companies. However, they've got a strategy that works for them, and that's to just barrel in. Instead of waiting to see what their biggest competitor is going to do, they created the Galaxy Gear wearable device, something that's meant to not only be your watch, but also do plenty more, too. And even with Apple rumored to be launching their wearable device this year, Samsung's keeping their focus, and already teasing what's to come from the next-generation wearable.
The Galaxy Gear successor, as Samsung's mobile EVP Lee Young Hee calls it, is going to improve on a lot, according to Young Hee. It will slim down the bulk of the original, while managing to throw in some more "advanced features" in for good measure. What's more, though, is that it will also feature baked-in health features, like being able to count the calories you intake, as well as monitor your heart rate.
Honestly, this is all general speaking, but I can't help but be excited for the Galaxy Gear 2. The fact that Samsung is going to slim it down is huge in my book, and right there is reason enough to be excited for the wearable's successor. But, putting health features in the device right out of the gate, without having to use third-party apps, is a move in the right direction, too.
(Don't get me wrong, if there's a way to use those third-party apps and the Galaxy Gear 2 at the same time, I know most people will do that. First-party health features or not.)
I originally wrote that I wanted to wait for the Galaxy Gear 2 way back in the beginning of September of last year, but then the Galaxy Gear itself surprised me quite a bit. Sure, there were some changes I would have liked to make, but for the most part it was a first "good try." Now that Samsung knows what to build from, what to improve and what to scale back, I think the next version of their wearable device is going to be pretty impressive.
What's even better is that it's apparently coming sooner, rather than later. It would have made sense for Samsung to wait until October to release the Galaxy Gear 2, but apparently they're aiming for a March-to-April launch window, right alongside the Galaxy S 5. Hopefully that means it doesn't sync between just the Galaxy S 5 when it launches.
What about you? Are you excited about the Galaxy Gear 2? If you bought the original Galaxy Gear (and, apparently, quite a few people did), are you a little upset that they're upgrading the device so soon? Or, if you passed on the original, do you plan on picking up the Galaxy Gear 2 if Samsung does improve and refine quite a bit? Let me know!