|Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Priced at $299.99|
|By JON M. CHANG||Sep 6, 2013, 10:14 AM|
If your wrist is begging for a phone of its own, you'll have to wait about another month. T-Mobile said Friday that Samsung's Galaxy Gear, the company's newest smartwatch, will launch nationwide on Oct. 2 for $299.99.
The other big cellular providers will also offer the Gear, though they have not been as forthcoming with the details. AT&T only mentioned the Gear in passing in its most recent statement. Neither Verizon nor Sprint have said anything official, though a leaked internal document says that Verizon may bundle the smartwatch with the Galaxy Note 3 for $599.99.
Samsung recently highlighted the interactivity between the Gear and its newest smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3. T-Mobile will also release the stylus-equipped smartphone for $199.99, though owners will have to pay an additional $21.00 per month for two years. AT&T offers the phone for $299.99 with a two-year contract or $724.99 off the shelf.
The Galaxy Gear marks the first corporate effort to get into the smartwatch market. But even though Samsung is launching the first shots at Apple and Microsoft, those shots may not hit as hard as the company might think.
Patrick Moorhead, the founder and principal analyst of Moorhead Insights and Strategy, said that smartwatch technology overall isn't ready for prime time. "It's an 'OK' first attempt at a smartwatch, but it has a long way to go," he told ABC News. "I don't expect Gear to sell in high volumes as I expect consumers rather to opt for other, cheaper smartwatches."
Samsung also needs to make sure that retailers and customers are aware that the watch is more like an accessory than a product that can stand on its own, industry experts said. "That point has been made clearly to the press, but it needs to continue in retail," said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.
She also added that customers need to be informed about which phones and devices will specifically work with the Gear. "Getting a Galaxy S4 to work with the Gear requires a software download," she said. "There's also been no discussion on what other types of Android phones might work, and especially no discussion on whether it will work with iOS devices."
Moorhead agreed and said the Gear is hampered by its need to connect with other Samsung devices. "Galaxy Gear isn't useful at all without a Samsung phone," he said. "It will only be attractive to technology enthusiasts with a lot of disposable income who prefer Samsung, and that's a pretty narrow slice."