Number gamesIt was later revealed that the 800,000 figure which Samsung attributed to sales was in fact representative of retail shipments. This was first reported to Korean publication Yonhap, and later confirmed to The Verge in an email from Samsung Korea. On the other hand, it’s highly probable that Business Korea’s estimate of 50,000 units constitutes only domestic (South Korean) sales, with worldwide stats numbering higher. The exact sales figure will probably remain a mystery, but it’s probably somewhere between the 50,000 and 800,000 mark. The inconsistency in the figures has left many baffled, but the truth is that despite Samsung’s hype over the Galaxy Gear, the smartwatch hasn’t really taken to users the way the company hoped it would.
Lukewarm responseFrom the get go, Samsung has heavily marketed the Galaxy Gear as an add-on device to the Galaxy Note 3. This is because at the time of launch, the smart watch could be linked only to the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 tablet. Last month, Samsung announced that it would be bringing compatibility for the Gear to the Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2 and select Galaxy devices through an Android 4.3 Jellybean update. However, this still hasn’t happened and it’s left many Samsung users frustrated.
Compatibility issuesAs far as smart watches go, the Galaxy Gear wins in features alone. A Super AMOLED screen, camera with HD video recording, and built-in microphone+speaker for making and receiving calls puts it way above the competition. Despite this, the Gear has received very poor reviews. Chiefly among them: the camera creates an unsightly protrusion on the wristband, and users don’t really want to make and receive calls with a watch. The 1 day battery life is the worst among major smart watches. At the time of release, the Galaxy Gear also had trouble displaying some notifications, an issue which was fixed in a recent update. But these negatives aren’t real reason behind the Galaxy Gear’s failure. Even 2 months after its launch, the Gear can only connect to a couple of Samsung devices. By the time Samsung rolls out pairing to it’s other Galaxy smartphones, the buzz around the smart watch will have died down considerably. While other smart watches like Pebble, Sony SmartWatch 2 and the recently launched Qualcomm Toq don’t have the Gear’s fancy features, at the very least they are compatible with most Android devices. This alone gives them access to a much larger share of the pie. One thing is certain, the Galaxy Gear and every other smartwatch in the market are all still in a concept stage. For most manufacturers, this is a first attempt to get a foothold into the smartwatch business. The Galaxy Gear isn’t perfect, but it’s not bad either. By introducing the concept, Samsung has given developers a chance to create applications specifically to work with smart watches. By the time Samsung launches the Galaxy Gear 2, it will have hopefully ironed out a lot of issues that have plagued the first edition. But if Samsung really wants to succeed, it needs to make the next Gear compatible with all it’s major Galaxy phones, if not all Android devices.