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Leak: Almost a Third of Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatches Are Being Returned 365

Posted by timothy
from the this-smart-ring-communicates-with-your-smart-watch dept.
llebeel writes "Almost a third of Samsung's Galaxy Gear Smartwatches sold are being returned, a leaked document has revealed, which shows that over 30 percent are being returned after sale at Best Buy locations in the US. The higher than expected return rate could be due to that realisation, with customers impulse buying and then realising that the smartwatch isn't everything it's cracked up to be." I'd like to hear from more people with smart watches who are happy with them, to better understand the appeal.
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Leak: Almost a Third of Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatches Are Being Returned

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  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ralf1 (718128) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:12AM (#45268757)
    One out of three people decided they looked like a dork with that awful thing on their wrist.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

      by CrzyP (830102) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:23AM (#45268873)
      The other 2/3 haven't yet realized it.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austrian Anarchy (3010653) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:34AM (#45268999) Homepage Journal

      One out of three people decided they looked like a dork with that awful thing on their wrist.

      All the makings of a future collector's item! Anybody who has one and is thinking of returning it, place it back in the original box and stow it away. A whole new generation of nostalgia geeks is being born right now who will beat a path to your door about the time you need retirement money.

      • by barista (587936)
        The question is will it be valuable like an Apple I, or just a curiosity like a PalmPilot or a CueCat? Selling an original Apple I will pay for a lot of retirement. Selling a CueCat won't.
        • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:40AM (#45269789)

          The question is will it be valuable like an Apple I, or just a curiosity like a PalmPilot or a CueCat? Selling an original Apple I will pay for a lot of retirement. Selling a CueCat won't.

          Nice try. I have half a dozen CueCats in storage and you are not going to trick me out of them with your clever schemes!

      • When you open that box in 10+ years, you will be disappointed to find that the resin band will have decayed and crumbled.

        The Gear looks like a fine product, but what annoyed me was the camera built onto the band. If you're going to pay more than $40 for a watch, it had better damn well use a STANDARD band interface, and not require a special band. Even if that means doing without the stupid camera.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Informative)

      by gauauu (649169) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:06AM (#45269367)

      One out of three people decided they looked like a dork with that awful thing on their wrist.

      This is slashdot, and we're making fun of people for looking like dork's for wearing a gadget? *sigh* Of all the places to worry about that.

      My own experience: I've always worn a watch. I find it to be MUCH more convenient for checking the time than pulling my cellphone out, hitting the power button, then putting it back in my pocket. When the Pebble kickstarter was going on, I backed it, thinking it would be fun to have a watch that I can write software for.

      It took awhile for me to be happy with the Pebble (the out-of-the-box experience sucked, but eventually 3rd parties wrote enough cool software for it), although I'm not sure it's really worth the price. The things it does well, I'm quite happy about. The fact that it vibrates when I get a phone call or text is quite helpful -- if I'm walking in a noisy environment, I used to miss calls and texts, but now I'm aware of them. A quick glance at your wrist lets you know whether you want to take the call or not. That's handy. The battery life (between 4 and 10 days depending on how I use it) is good enough. The size is a tiny bit bigger than my previous watch, but not a problem. If I don't have my phone with me, it still functions as a normal watch. (And it alerts me when my phone goes out of range)

      There's a handy Android app that somebody wrote that lets you design and push smart watchfaces to it -- currently I have the time, date, weather, and my next calendar appointment showing on my watch. That's handy. Sure, it's nothing revolutionary, but it's convenient.

      I just don't understand all the hate on slashdot. I don't care if you think it looks dorky. I don't care if you think it's silly that it duplicates phone functionality. I'm happy because it took something I always used (my watch) and made it somewhat more useful.

      But hey, nevermind that, let's all make fun of people for being dorks. Then we can go make fun of nerds for liking computers, right?

      • by gauauu (649169)

        This is slashdot, and we're making fun of people for looking like dork's for wearing a gadget?

        Crap, s/dork's/dorks/g. I swear sometimes my brain doesn't kick in until AFTER I finish doing the "preview" that slashdot requires.

      • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Informative)

        by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@cCOWornell.edu minus herbivore> on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:16AM (#45269477) Homepage

        The thing is, some of the smartwatches out there (Pebble, Sony's Smartwatches, MetaWatch) are pretty much "dumb" displays for your phone with varying degrees of autonomy - but with most "standalone" functionality trending towards "traditional watch" and not "second smart device".

        Most of these smartwatches, because they are "light" in standalone features, are also relatively small and free of bulk. Sony's Smartwatches can be used with a standard watch band, I think so can the Pebble?

        The Galaxy Gear has a freaking camera and battery in the watchband and is huge overall. It's just going too far.

        I really like the Sony Smartwatch I have (mine was given to me as a gift) and I'd buy the new Smartwatch 2 if I didn't have to remove it whenever I go to work (lots of restrictions on any form of radio transmitter for security reasons in a number of the locations I go frequently.) However the Omate TrueSmart and Galaxy Gear don't appeal to me AT ALL. The Gear is especially dysfunctional - it has tons of weight and bulk compared to other smartwatches, yet despite all of its "autonomy", it is heavily dependent on Samsung Touchwizz hacks in the phone it's communicating with and becomes useless without them. This is vastly different than Sony's products and (I believe) the Pebble, which work with ANY Android device that has Bluetooth and Play Store access.

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

      by moschner (3003611) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:17AM (#45269505)

      One out of three people decided they looked like a dork with that awful thing on their wrist.

      That didn't stop people from buying calculator watches back in the day.

  • by iPaul (559200) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:13AM (#45268761) Homepage

    I sometimes thought the iWatch rumor was just a plant by Apple to get everyone else in the industry to trip over themselves trying to get the watch out before Apple.

    • If they did, that would be the most masterful bit of trolling ever. Look at us! We got Samsung and others the blow ridiculous sums of cash for a stupid product that no one will ever buy!

      Now we just need someone to photoshop a troll-apple logo. :)

      • by Swampash (1131503)

        If they did, that would be the most masterful bit of trolling ever. Look at us! We got Samsung and others the blow ridiculous sums of cash for a stupid product that no one will ever buy!

        Second-most masterful, after the so-called "Apple Television"

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:10AM (#45269401) Journal
        It doesn't help (for Samsung, at least) that whatever small 'smartwatch' market exists is largely being catered to by outfits who are more realistic about how much you can actually cram into something that fits on the wrist.

        I have absolutely no interest in owning either; but the 'Pebble' outfit managed to get not-totally-ridiculous battery life, along with reasonable size; by being realistic about what they could do: low power transreflective display, limited firmware (with SDK; but not one connected with any broader ecosystem).

        Samsung just goes and bolts the guts of a first/second gen-ish Android phone, minus the cell modem and wifi, to your wrist. Glowy color screen, CPU that's fast enough to gobble battery (but not fast enough to make Samsungified Android run smoothly), integrated perv cam that makes the strap impossible to swap, the thing's a bulbous mess to fit a battery large enough to last a day, and they managed to make it compatible with almost nothing(it is Android; but it's already on the edge of acceptable battery life, has anemic performance, and a small display, so it isn't meaningfully 'compatible' with the broader ecosystem, and its notification display features only work with a small number of applications). Brilliant work.

        I'm not sold on 'smartwatch' as a concept; but even if we accept the goodness of the idea as a foundational assumption, Samsung fucked it up.
      • Trololololol.... [minus.com]

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:26AM (#45268913)

      Wouldn't be the first time they used rumours to their own advantage. It's widely accepted that Apple seeded rumours of an "under-$1000" price point for the original iPad to make its actual $500 price look really, really good. I doubt it's a coincidence that HP and Microsoft's own tablet, the Slate 500, wound up costing $800 later that year. They surely hoped to undercut Apple's rumoured target price when they were doing the original design work.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:31AM (#45268969)

      I think people want them, but Samsung tried to get the jump on Apple by pushing a half-baked product. I don't think Apple will nail it either because what people want in a smart watch is out of reach of current technology - the components are just too big. People want a smart watch which is indiscreet. It looks like a regular watch in both design, function and form factor yet magically can interface with your phone in a way which is neither cumbersome or frustrating. I think right now, people would be happy with a watch which simply vibrates when the phone in their pocket or backpack gets a text or phone call. Maybe scrolls an indiscreet caller id on the screen, or marquee of the text. Perhaps does a voice reply to a text message. That would be enough for now instead of trying to fit a phone on your wrist.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That word - indiscreet. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

      • by necro81 (917438)

        I don't think Apple will nail it either because what people want in a smart watch is out of reach of current technology - the components are just too big.

        Which is probably one reason why we haven't seen it yet. With few notable exceptions, and almost none in the last decade, Apple doesn't release half-baked products. Certainly not on the hardware side.

        I don't think that it is out of reach of current technology, I'm sure that you could get a nice feature set into a slim watch form factor. Look at wha

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          I don't think Apple will nail it either because what people want in a smart watch is out of reach of current technology - the components are just too big.

          Which is probably one reason why we haven't seen it yet. With few notable exceptions, and almost none in the last decade, Apple doesn't release half-baked products. Certainly not on the hardware side.

          I don't think that it is out of reach of current technology, I'm sure that you could get a nice feature set into a slim watch form factor. Look at wha

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        bzzt, wrong. What you describe is perfectly feasible and has been for over a year. Even Sony's last-generation Smartwatch did what you describe while remaining compatible with 22mm watch bands (I believe the Pebble also works with standard 22mm watch bands).

        "I think right now, people would be happy with a watch which simply vibrates when the phone in their pocket or backpack gets a text or phone call." - Sony Smartwatch plus WatchIt! - I've been doing this since last October. My watch vibrates and shows

      • Perhaps, but people said almost the exact same thing about phones when the iPhone came out. "This is huge. Who wants a phone that big? It's so much bigger than my Razr. I think right now, people would be happy with a phone which simply vibrates makes calls and doesn't try to fit a computer in your pocket." And a few years later, here we are.
    • Responding to your subject line, I want a smart watch. I want one that's done right, which means the right functionality, integrated in the right way with my other personal electronics.

      I ultimately want to have Google Glass (or similar), a smart watch and a smart phone with a large screen (6" is about right). I think the three devices could work very well together.

      The phone, of course, is the brain, the connectivity, and the user interface for "heavy" work. Anything involving data entry or interacting with large amounts of data. Glass is an audio/video output device, to provide no-hands, no-interference content when I need it. Heads-up navigation, audio playback, video messages, etc. But it's not something I'd want to wear all of the time, both because I don't think the battery will stand up to constantly being on and because it's awkward in some social situations. A smartwatch is an ideal form factor for lightweight I/O. It can provide unobtrusive notifications and quick, easy access to small but important pieces of information. It can also be an input device for controlling Glass, one that's a lot more convenient than the frame-mounted touchpad (in fact, I hope a future version of Glass does away with the frame-mounted touchpad using smartwatch integration instead) and provides a lot more control than head gestures.

      Galaxy Gear isn't yet the smartwatch that I want, though.

    • Haha that would explain a lot.

      Smartwatches were around for a long time before the iWatch rumor and they'd always been niche devices for hardcore nerds.

      I'd have one, but the big problem is that the screen is too small to make it a replacement for my phone. I already carry a phone. If the screen were big enough to be a phone replacement, I could just strap my phone to my wrist instead. I think it's safer in my pocket.

      If you just want notifications from your phone...then just get a cheaper, normal-looking, lon

  • Best Buy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jamie Wood (2916359) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:14AM (#45268775)
    Or maybe most of them are just treating Best Buy as "try it out before I order it from Amazon."
  • A "smart watch"... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:14AM (#45268779)

    ...which interacts only with your smartphone, requiring you to always the smartphone with you. This whole idea is so fundamentally flawed, and almost unfathomably stupid - as stupid as buying a mini remote control for your main remote control. Why on earth would anyone bother with a "smart" watch if they can just as easily use the phone with a much better experience?

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:31AM (#45268973)

      Notification triage. A lot of people who apparently haven't figured out the Notification settings on their phones get a beep or a buzz every time there's an email or a Facebook message or an app update or whatever the fuck, and for those people being able to see what it was and dismiss it without pulling their phone out their pocket would be convenient.

      Personally, I simply turned off notifications windows, sounds, and vibration for everything that doesn't require my immediate attention (SMS and phone calls). I look at my Notification list the next time I unlock my phone and deal with the trivial stuff then.

      • I do one better than notification triage. I keep my iPhone on Do Not Disturb and have it set to only allow calls through for select people or if you call more than once within three minutes.

        I do something similar with Android phones using a third party app - AutoRing.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          I'm lucky, I don't get enough calls or texts that I have to go that far. I turn that on between the late evening and morning, or when I'm at the movies, though.

    • which interacts only with your smartphone, requiring you to always the smartphone with you. This whole idea is so fundamentally flawed, and almost unfathomably stupid - as stupid as buying a mini remote control for your main remote control. Why on earth would anyone bother with a "smart" watch if they can just as easily use the phone with a much better experience?

      Or selling a phone with a second phone.....,

      http://mobile.theverge.com/2013/1/25/3915700/htc-mini-tiny-phone-companion-for-your-oversized-smartpho

    • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:37AM (#45269029)
      Because I don't have to take it out of my pocket to see why it buzzes?? Or just to check the time or weather??? Lot's of apps don't need a lot of screen real estate .. weather, calculator, phone, calendar, checking if emails are worth reading, text messages. Having an easy-to-reach display serves a real function even if it has reduced functionality. How about incorporating a small, wide angle camera that one could operate with voice commands?? It doesn't have to be the highest resolution, just enough for quick, uncomposed snaps. I take a lot of blind shots with my camera phone now so people don't know I'm taking them, you get really good at it after awhile. But I have to take it out of my pocket and set it to camera mode, which takes awhile.

      Just because someone isn't clever enough to think of any use doesn't mean there aren't any.

      I haven't worn a watch in over 10 years because I don't like something on my wrist with only one function. When I did, I bought the slimmest watch I could find. At one point, I had a nice Seiko multi-function watch that was very slim and had a stop watch and alarm in addition to being just a watch. Still have it in my nightstand. I might reconsider once these become a bit less nerdish and slimmer. I'll never have google glass because it's too big and labels someone immediately to other people, often in non-complimentary ways. Incorporate something into my existing eye glasses that disappears and I'd reconsider.
    • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:41AM (#45269089)

      Same reason people started wearing wrist watches instead of pocket watches - it is faster and more convenient to look at your wrist. Yes, the analogy lacks a bit since you still carry around the phone - but consider the use case of receiving an email:
      You are working on something, perhaps debugging a piece of equipment, mowing the lawn, maybe painting - pick an activity. Your phone buzzes with the familiar tone of an incoming email or sms. You can either: (a) look at your wrist to see if it is worth a damn or, (b) stop what you are doing, dig into your pockets for your phone, turn on the screen, maybe swipe it to unlock, and then pull down the notifications. Even if you don't have your phone buttoned up like Ft. Knox and your SMS and emails are set to show up on your lock screen, it is still less convenient than getting it on your wrist.

      Also consider that some people still wear a watch... a plain old ordinary watch. Having a more functional watch is not exactly a revolutionary way of thinking for these people.

      I'm not going to buy a smartwatch, but a particularly geeky guy (but in a cool way) at work has one of those Pebble watches and he made the above points to me when I teased him about it.

      • Or there's (c) - turn off your phone before you start painting or mowing or whatever.
        • Not an option if you want to receive emails or SMS texts, or control the music on your phone. Which is kind of the point of his post. Because god knows mowing the grass is a mentally challenging task...

          I got a bluetooth headset specifically for working in the yard. A corded headset was constantly being yanked off my head as it got caught on a bramble or branch. I would often be outside for several hours, and I DID want the SMS/phone function on for at least one particular benefit. My wife letting me k

      • by godrik (1287354)

        For me, I think that eventually, the smartwatch will replace my smartphone. I already carry a tablet everywhere. I mostly need my phone for phone calls, the occasional text message, GPS some times and giving web to my tablet when I am not at home or at work. So clearly if a watch could pass phone calls and tether phone-internet, I would retire my smartphone almost instantly.

    • by moschner (3003611)

      "I'd like to hear from more people with smart watches who are happy with them, to better understand the appeal."

      The appeal was the idea of a watch that was also a freakin phone! That is just cool. That is something many a geek has wanted since they were little geeklings.

      However, that is not what the Gear is. That is what the Gear was advertised and sold as, and hence the high return rate. They advertised a watch phone like the ones from TV and comics. What people got was a glorified phone accessory that onl

    • Because I don't have to have the phone *on* me, I just have to have it *near* me, which it almost always is. It's on the desk in the apartment, it's in my pocket, it's on my desk at work, wherever. It's a secondary display/interface that I don't have to have a hand free to use, don't have to fumble with on the subway, and don't have to walk across the room to read. It's a convenience, but kind of a nice one. A split second glance at my wrist to see if the email that just arrived requires my immediate att
    • by MacDork (560499) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:59AM (#45269293) Journal
      I've seen enough smartphones explode. I do not want to strap that to my wrist.
    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      I honestly don't see anything horribly wrong with this. I have one master device which I carry in my pocket or backpack or whatever, and one convienent small remote on my wrist capable of doing some of the more common and simple tasks with it (eg: caller ID, fiddle with my music, check the time, etc), but I still have the larger device I can dig out if I want to do something more complex.

      Perhaps I lack vision here, but I can't see the watch ever replacing the phone. There's too much I need the larger form

    • I have friends who swear by their Pebbles, and that's about all they are: notification centers for their iPhones. The thing is that you can't just as easily use your phone when it's in your pocket and you want to know why it's buzzing.
  • I guess the people who bought it realized that having a watch you have to charge every night isn't all that useful.

    (Contrast with a regular watch which, at the very worst, you replace the battery twice a year. Or other smart watches that you can go a week between charging them.)

    • by jeremyp (130771) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:23AM (#45268875) Homepage Journal

      Ha! My first regular watch had to be"recharged" every day. You didn't need to plug it in though, you just rotated the little knob on the side of it until the spring was tight.

      • by thevirtualcat (1071504) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:31AM (#45268963)

        True. But I bet you never left your charger at home!

      • by necro81 (917438) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:08AM (#45269387) Journal
        Makes me wonder if it would be possible to create a tiny electrical generator built into a smartwatch that you "wind" the same way. You might be able to extract, say, 100 milliwatts, meaning your power budget for all-day use would be tens of microwatts. A typical digital watch can get by on about 10 nW; I've used microcontrollers that do useful processing on a few 100 uW. So there might be some realm where this could be possible. I wonder what the average power of the Pebble watch is.

        You can forget about having a touchscreen, though, or a radio with any significant throughput.
        • by T.E.D. (34228)
          I can't speak for Pebble, but any Bluetooth device is going to require a fair bit more power than that. Even Bluetooth low energy [wikipedia.org] uses up to 10mW during transmission.
      • I couldn't quickly find a mAh rating on a watch spring. But perhaps we just need electronics that are efficient enough to use that sort of energy storage device.

    • You probably never owned a mechanical watch...You know, one of those little devices powered by a mainspring [wikipedia.org], that needed to be recharged once a day. Owning one of them gave to the owner the feeling of how precious and unique is the time of our life, a sensation that seems to have been forgotten by the i-something generation.
      • by khallow (566160)

        Owning one of them gave to the owner the feeling of how precious and unique is the time of our life, a sensation that seems to have been forgotten by the i-something generation.

        Can't say that I ever felt that when I owned one. Guess that's why I switched to battery power.

      • by kav2k (1545689)

        To be fair, automatic self-winding mechanical wristwatches were invented in the XVIII century and, quoting Wikipedia, "by the 1960s [...] became standard in quality mechanical watches." As long as you wear them, it's a non-issue.

        Smartwatches don't have similar tech, and are still making baby steps. People who buy them now should bear in mind they are almost prototype-level products.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        The i-something generation being everyone who has owned a watch since batteries and self-winding mechanisms were invented?

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Winding one's watch does not require you to even remove it from your wrist, let alone plugging it in for an hour or so.

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      meanwhile, some mechanical watches of decades ago *never* needed anything because they were self-winding from wrist movement. ah progress...

      • by Amouth (879122)

        meanwhile, some mechanical watches of decades ago *never* needed anything because they were self-winding from wrist movement. ah progress...

        funny you say that, i'm currently wearing one that is a little over 40 years old.. never have to bother with it, always works..

        I want my watch to tell me the time, that is what a watch is for, if i wanted it to be something else, it would be something else.

  • ...reaching in your pocket to get your phone.

    It's sad in that same way as the family member who's sitting by the TV but searching desperately for the remote.

    • by isorox (205688)

      ...reaching in your pocket to get your phone.

      It's sad in that same way as the family member who's sitting by the TV but searching desperately for the remote.

      Many tvs have functions that can't be accessed with a remote. My STB has 1200 channels, selecting channel 503 when I'm on channel 141, without a remote (and thus limited to ch+) is a right pain.

      I wear a watch, it's handy to be aware of what the time is, as my body clock is usually screwed from 1 or 2 long haul trips a month. If that watch also showed me who was ringing, allowing me to ignore my phone (which may be in my pocket, or on the other side of the office), that would be useful.

  • I knew since they launched it that it'd be too small to read, too big, too heavy, too warm, too annoying to charge, and too underperforming. I have a feeling so did Samsung. Obviously the average consumer knows nothing about mobile technology or they'd have known it too. At least they finally figured it out days after buying it. What a bunch of idiots. I wouldn't be surprised if some returned it because their magic magnetic energy field anti-cancer aura-boosting magnet wristband was interfering with it
  • From TFA: the watch only works with tablets. It didn't work with Samsung cell phones except since this morning or something like that.
  • by marbike (35297) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:40AM (#45269075) Homepage

    I detest ringtones in the office, so my phone is always set to silent. My Pebble allows me to see my wife calling/texting me. This alone justifies the price. The Gear is overpriced for what it offers, and requires their phone to work. My Pebble works with android and iOS. (disclaimer, I only use mine with android) I can set the watch face to whatever I like, including the very useful Beer O'Clock face that a friend made.
    I prefer to check the time with a watch. Till I got my Pebble, I usually wore one of several Invicta chronographs that I own. I don't like digging a phone out of my pocket to verify the time, especially when in meetings. A quick glance is sufficient to tell when I am going to be late getting home, without the rudeness of pulling my phone out and conspicuously checking time.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      I detest ringtones in the office, so my phone is always set to silent. My Pebble allows me to see my wife calling/texting me. This alone justifies the price. The Gear is overpriced for what it offers, and requires their phone to work. My Pebble works with android and iOS. (disclaimer, I only use mine with android) I can set the watch face to whatever I like, including the very useful Beer O'Clock face that a friend made.
      I prefer to check the time with a watch. Till I got my Pebble, I usually wore one of several Invicta chronographs that I own. I don't like digging a phone out of my pocket to verify the time, especially when in meetings. A quick glance is sufficient to tell when I am going to be late getting home, without the rudeness of pulling my phone out and conspicuously checking time.

      Pretty sure you forgot to add, "Get off my lawn" at the end of your post.

  • by The Real Dr. Video (1218040) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:42AM (#45269111) Homepage
    I have had my Gear (and Galaxy Note 3) for most of the month now. As a business user (I own an IT consulting firm) I find the Gear supremely useful. I don't agree with most of the bad reviews I have read. To dispel some myths: I can go for a few days on a battery charge. I do sleep eventually so slipping it on the charger overnight is no biggie. I am an Exchange user and I get notified of incoming e-mail (and can read a summary) and can see my appointments for the day. Actually taking a call via hands free on the watch works well too, which I was surprised by. I didn't expect that part to be of particular value but I find myself taking calls like that and wearing my Bluetooth earpiece less. This stuff alone is worth the price for me. I think people are expecting this to be some whiz-bang toy and blow sunshine up their butts. This is a productivity tool and delivers it's value in that manner.
  • What possible excuse could a person have to return a $300 watch which needs recharging every single day, doesn't tell you the time unless you light up the display (and you can't see any way in strong sunlight) and offers functionality which people don't need and doesn't work properly even if they did?
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:54AM (#45269257)
    Very few younger people wear watches these days, because mobile phones serve as a reasonable replacement. As a result, the sudden interest in wearable tech seems slightly odd. It's almost as if Apple's R&D team prototyped a watch just to see what it would be like, and someone leaked the news in a frantic frenzy, ignoring the fact that it is - by and large - a dumb idea that Apple might very easily shelve (along with the silly notion of an Apple-branded TV set).
  • by xtal (49134) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @09:54AM (#45269259)

    Maybe they always were. Functional, but they're jewlery. I have a nice Citizen Ecodrive I'm fond of. It's functional, it's lightweight, it never needs batteries, and it looks nice. It's titanium, with a sapphire face.

    It allows me to casually check time in meetings without being rude; it looks professional; that's important for what I do, less important for others.

    Smartwatches are horrible to look at. They are gaudy and tacky. I am not sure what they say about the wearer, but I am not sure they are part of the image I would want to project. Yes, that type of thing matters to some people. Particularly, I suspect, those who still wear watches.

    What I want is a nice watch like that that maybe has a silent notification capabilty, and perhaps, can pick up some biometric data (pulse, whatever). I would find real value in that - something that my phone can't do, an an alert to get me to check my phone for something interesting or pressing.

    I can see myself getting Google Glasses before a smartwatch.

    Get off my lawn.

  • but only if it replaces my smartphone.

  • Pebble seems fine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:05AM (#45269355)

    My dad (65yo) has a Pebble [getpebble.com], and is pleased as punch with it. He uses it with an iPhone, but they supposedly work with Android, which would include all the (2) devices Samsung's Gear watch works with. So perhaps that's a better alternative for folks looking for a smartwatch.

    And for those making the "look like a dork" cracks, he's a very succesfful lawyer and takes great care with his professional appearance. He did change the band out for a decortive one that looks much better in the circles he hangs out in. You can do that with a Pebble because it uses a standard watch band. The Gear?...nope.

  • by noc007 (633443) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @01:01PM (#45271499)

    Full disclosure upfront: I am an early Kickstarter backer for Pebble. I do try an not let that make me biased in this comment.

    My requirements in a smart watch are the following:
    -Fully customizable watchface which can be displayed at all times (it's a watch; I shouldn't need to do anything just to see the time)
    -Battery must last more than a couple of days. The longer the better. A whole week is a good start.
    -It must be able to be fully submersible in water so I may shower and swim without any care
    -The band must either be made of a durable fabric that is easily cleaned such as nylon or user replaceable in available sizes (skin condition)
    -It needs to be able to provide useful alerts with contextual text to alleviate the need to pull my phone out of my pocket or run to it's location
    -Further interactive functionality with my phone is a bonus

    Why I prefer the Pebble:
    The Pebble is by no means the perfect smartwatch. It even has a manufacturing flaw that I doubt will ever be addressed (rainbowin display in the sunlight). That being said, it ticks all of the above boxes. My phone is either in my pocket, near by, or on the charger up stairs. When ever I get a text message, phone call (Caller ID with the option to send to voicemail), e-mail, IM, meeting notification, reminder, or any other alert of my choosing, it displays on my watch. Through a 3rd party app, I can choose what app alerts to send to my watch. If I get too many alerts from an app, I can just have it not send to my watch. In many cases I get an alert that I just need to read and not respond to. When I'm on-call for work, I can see who's calling and whether it's worth running up stairs to my phone or getting out of bed to answer. I can also change music tracks or stations from my watch and they don't need to directly support Pebble either. In the car, I can change without taking my eyes off the road. Doing the dishes, I can change without getting my phone wet or it be near the sink.

    The fact that an application doesn't need to natively support Pebble is a big plus. Any smartwatch needs to have an accompanying SDK and should leverage the existing APIs from the phone's OS to be able to integrate. Another cool thing I've got working is my phone security goes from a simple swipe to PIN requirement to unlock whenever my watch is out of range or the BT turned off; if someone happens to pick up my phone and walk off, it will lock with the PIN regardless if the screen is on and they're using it. Lastly a cool feature I should mention is I just need to flick my wrist in order for the backlight to come on so I can see what it says in the dark or use as a low light short range brief flashlight (I do this about once a week).

    I have looked at the other smartwatches out there (here's a good list [reddit.com]) and all of them had something missing or a poor attempt from my required list. Features like being able to take voice memos, use it as a headset or speakerphone, take pictures, and have a full color touch display are nice, but not one of my requirements. I'd wager the simplicity of physical buttons is better on a smartwatch than a touchscreen since one doesn't need to look at it to execute a command; a couple of examples would be glancing at an incoming call and dismiss it or changing tracks without looking.

    I think the Galaxy Gear is a cute initial attempt from Samsung, but they have more work to do. Only getting text messages on the watch is silly. I don't need to be told I have a new e-mail since my phone already did that; let me see at least a snipet of the e-mail to determine if it's worth my time. I'd say Samsung has more work to do to open it up to other apps and phones not built by Samsung within the past year.

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