Smartwatch Roundup: Galaxy Gear Could Lack Juice as Google Prepares Its Own Watch

3 minute read
Chris Knight avatar


Whatever it looks like, and whatever tech is inside it, Samsung looks like getting a march on most rivals with its smartwatch. But early hints suggest the combination of screen, radios and apps make for a battery hog, while Google has acquired quietly to develop its own product. 

Checking the Time and the Battery Life

It doesn't take much to figure out that the smart in smartwatch means that these devices won't be running for years on our wrists without the need for lots of power. How much? Well one site with a factory source is quoting just 10 hours of activity for the Galaxy Gear. That's pretty feeble, even in a world where we're used to charging our smartphones and tablets on a daily basis. we'll know more at the official launch next week

On the plus side, it looks like the Galaxy Gear will come with wireless charging to save having it plugged in all the time. However, the speculated high quality OLED screen, NFC and Bluetooth radios to communicate with the smartphone and a decent processor to handle the apps, means that whatever room there is for a battery, and the need to keep it cool against our skin, will limit life considerably. 

Whatever it looks like, speculation suggests that its guts will consist of a 2.5-inch 320 x 320 OLED with 1GB of memory, possible 4,6 or 8GB extra storage options for apps, plus a modest camera. Those used to wearing aviator-style watches might feel at home with such a hefty wristpiece, for the rest of us, it could come as quite a shock. 

Learning Opportunities

Google Acquires to Develop its Own Smartwatch

While Sony got out first among the Android army with its own Smartwatch, now up to version 2, Google is hot on Samsung's heels with its own product, having acquired WIMM Labs last year. That company was making waves in recent years, but suddenly went quiet having developed an exclusive relationship for its IP. 

It turns out that relationship was with Google via a stealthy acquisition, according to GigaOM and now Google is rushing to get a product to market.  However, the race isn't just to be first, Sony proved that to minimal effect. The race is to launch the product that captures market attention, which is why Apple seems content to take its time, with no hint of iWatch news at the iPhone 5S launch

If Samsung does fail to sparkle through either over-ambition or immature technology, then Google (and its WIMM technology that includes mini apps, and smartwatch-dedicated ideas) and Apple will be ready to leap in. There's also the considerable crowd-funded smartwatch market, with any one of a number of niche players led by Pebble looking to make it big with the right idea. 

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