Samsung Galaxy Gear: Success or failure?

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samsung_galaxy_gear_3aSamsung has quite often been labelled as a copycat of Apple. Giving their critics something to chew on, the firm launched their Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch on 3rd September 2013. The initial expectations surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Gear were high, as people had never seen something like it before. Now, other companies are following suit. Does the Samsung Galaxy Gear live up to the hype or will it just become an antique in a customer’s showcase?

Samsung Galaxy Gear’s Sales Figures

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is designed to serve as an accessory for Samsung Galaxy smartphone users, and not as a single entity. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the latest smartphones that support the Gear. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 price in India is INR 45,810. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 price is fairly moderate, considering its above-average features. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is priced at INR 18,000 or 300 US dollars.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear has been in the news lately for its alleged sales figure of 8,00,000 in the first two months of its launch. On the other hand, Business Korea revealed that the Galaxy Gear has sold less than 50 thousand devices till date. So who’s saying the truth here?

Well, Samsung recently admitted its mistake of referring to 8,00,000 sales instead of shipped, for the Galaxy Gear. This actually means that the firm has just shipped their devices to third-party vendors. On the other hand, the figures cited by Business Korea refer to the actual number of sold devices.

Gartner recently revealed that it doesn’t believe that this holiday season would bring about a high demand for smart watches. Phones4U reported that they offered this device free to Galaxy Note 3 customers on contract. U.S Best Buy stores revealed that around 30 percent devices were returned, as customers were unsatisfied with the device.

These are clear signs of failure for the very successful smartphone maker.

So What’s The Reason Behind Samsung Galaxy Gear’s Failure?

Lacks Something Special

Young-hee, Samsung’s Executive Vice-President of Marketing, reported that the Samsung Galaxy Gear is receiving a warm response from users, elaborating that the device is a wow product and a must-have accessory. However, a Samsung official gave the Korean Times some scoop by explaining that the Galaxy Gear isn’t up to much. He stated that the firm has acknowledged that their device is devoid of something special. He further explains that Samsung needs to work on the user interface and user experience, which will bring about a positive response from the customer’s end.

Lack Of Apps

The Samsung Galaxy Gear has just 70 applications to offer. Gizmodo’s Brent Rose explained that S Voice application is capable of carrying out all the tasks that is possible for an Android voice assistant. However, the main problem is that the performance is very slow and less accurate.

Rose explains that the Gear isn’t capable of much, and what it’s capable of, it doesn’t do it well. Another application, Evernote requires you to have an Android application installed on your Galaxy smartphone and work in collaboration with the actual app.

There is also no guarantee that companies will work towards developing applications for the Galaxy Gear.

The Device Is Very Sluggish

While the Samsung Galaxy Gear may look stunning, it definitely doesn’t live up to the expectations of its users, especially in terms of user-interface. Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian mentions that from his hands-on experience, navigation with the Samsung Galaxy Gear is very slow and comes with an awkward user-interface. He further explains that despite being simple in comparison to Samsung’s Galaxy Android devices, the user-interface was highly confusing.

He further states that the smartphone was terribly bulky as well, unsuitable for wearing on the wrist. Gibbs adds that to view the time, you would need to shake your hand, unlike the usual way you would just glance at your watch. Zach Honig of Engadget reiterates that the Gear is very sluggish, especially if you launch an application such as Path or Evernote or swipe across the home screen. He adds that the interface is also unpolished and seems slightly clunky.

Poor Battery Life      

Another major issue faced by Samsung Galaxy Gear users is poor battery life. The firm stated that the 315-mAh battery of the Galaxy Gear should offer around 24 hours of usage, which many reviewers claim to be true. John V. of PhoneArena.com reports that you would definitely need to charge your device nightly. Traditionally, you need a watch that will last you long. No one likes to regularly rush to the store to change the battery on the watch.

Despite the initial hype surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Gear, it doesn’t seem to have had the impact on the market that the firm expected. Selling below 50,000 devices in two months clearly indicates that the features offered by the device don’t captivate people. It’s tough saying it, but from the looks of it, it’s game over for the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

– Ashwin Nair

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