Anyway, I'm back!
And I'm going to get uber critical with Samsung and LG.
First up, Samsung announced a few weeks ago the Galaxy Alpha, which was a slightly-watered down, metal version of its Galaxy S5. Now, Samsung just announced the Gear S, the anticipated version of its Gear 2 smartwatch that does not require a handset to pair with. Other than the 3G connectivity of the watch, the curved touchscreen, and the lack of camera, the specs of the Gear S are identical to the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo.
Samsung, I love you. I really do. But what in the ever-loving name of Google are you doing??
photo credit: designtrend.com
I'll just start with the Galaxy Alpha. Yes, I know people have been complaining for a really long time about how you never released a phone that was made of metal, and even then you only have metal accents on this one. Using plastic has cut down on costs immensely. Plus, if people are smart enough, they (hopefully) will buy a case to protect their $200 on contract/$600 off contract investment! Plastic cuts down on costs! And aside from that, the Alpha is more compact, is toned down on internal specs, has a less ambitious camera, lesser screen resolution, and isn't even water resistant! AGGGGGHHH.
Samsung, who are you trying to appeal to here, phone fashionistas? That is an extremely limited market (more on that later) to appeal to, especially when most (sensible) people protect their phones with cases anyways. They won't even get to touch the metal most of the time!
Look, if you want a truly "premium" phone, make it to where it's constructed of metal, has amped up internal specs, a killer camera, and some other exclusive feature that is a major draw to it. This is kind of killing the IFA announcement of the Note 4, and I don't know why you are shooting yourself in the foot here!
Speaking of foot, let's talk the wrist...with the Gear S. What?
photo credit: Extreme Tech
The Gear S is identical to its Gear 2 Neo Sibling, albeit with standalone 3G support and a curved screen. This means that the Gear S doesn't need a smartphone to base itself off of, allowing it to act as a standalone watch capable of everything the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo can do.
This now means that Samsung has 6 different smartwatches on the market: the original Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Live (Android Wear powered), Gear Fit, and now the Gear S. Meanwhile, nobody else has as many watches out, meaning Samsung is doing an Apple and attempting to monopolize the market for every single little nook and cranny.
Samsung, I do love you, but two things:
-This is the most anti-fair business move I've seen since Apple monopolized with the iPhone. Stop it. Now.
-WHY DOES ANYONE NEED A STANDALONE SMARTWATCH? THERE IS SUCH A LIMITED MARKET FOR THIS. MOST PEOPLE WANT A MAIN DEVICE AND TO USE A SMARTWATCH AS AN AUXILIARY. NOBODY WITH A LICK OF SENSE WILL GIVE UP ANGRY BIRDS OR CANDY CRUSH FOR THIS. BONUS POINTS, IT IS TWO GENERATIONS BEHIND ON CELLULAR RADIO TECHNOLOGY, SO IT WILL ONLY WORK ON SLOWER NETWORKS.
Okay, I'm done venting rage. Now back to my usual cynicism. To finish this blog post off, let's take a crack at LG, who managed to pull out of its bag of tricks a Moto 360 rival with the LG G Watch R (yeah, I'm tongue-tied too).
photo credit: Boy Genius Report
As the second round-faced Android Wear smartwatch announced (I am not including the Arrow Smartwatch, as its operating system has not been announced and is still in the prototype phase), the G Watch R seeks to rival the Moto 360 in looks and battery life. But the question is, can it do more than the 360? Not really.
The problem with Android Wear is that it isn't as featured as, say, Tizen or the operating systems on other smartwatches. Yes, it has more direct access to Google, but that's about it. It can do a majority of simple functions, but more advanced ones, such as engaging in phone calls or sleep tracking, aren't available because of the hardware and OS limitations. At this point, you'd pay more for something that looks pretty and has a limited feature set.
Until Android Wear is more refined and the hardware running it gets more and more capable of exhibiting more features, the prices of the Moto 360 and the G Watch R will not justify getting either, in my opinion, unless you have limited needs. As I am personally a more advanced user, I went with the Gear 2 Neo and, while it limits me on my choice of smartphone when I upgrade, I'm happy with it and I can use everything it has to offer.
I'm now done being cynical and slightly ticked. Fire away, readers. Talk to me, let me see what you think!