Samsung Announces A Watch You Won't Stop Watching

On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch, a gadget being hailed as a leap forward for wearable computing, the first such device from a major technology company and an important offensive in Samsung’s ongoing battle with Apple.

What Samsung has done with its gadget is certainly impressive. But what its smartwatch could do to us is even more remarkable.

Next to the smartwatch, checking a smartphone seems downright cumbersome. It has to be fished out of pockets or purses, woken up from its slumber, unlocked and navigated. By tying a 1.6-inch display onto our wrists, Samsung ensures the Galaxy Gear is never out of sight or reach. In turn, that guarantees we’re never out of sight or reach to the people and companies that want access to us.

“The ability to put away a smartphone is a feature, not a flaw,” noted Nathan Jurgenson, a social media theorist a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. “With smartwatches, we’re strapping technology onto things we wear all the time, and I think that’s a major hurdle for them. Being able to put them away is really important.”

The Galaxy Gear can answer calls, send text messages, snap photos, play music, take voice memos, track steps and currently offers over a dozen apps -- including Tripit, Path, Line, Evernote and, for those who need the flexibility to buy antiques from their wrist, eBay. It also notifies wearers when they receive incoming calls, texts, emails or alerts from their apps, and allows them to quickly share content in messages or on social networking sites. The device, set to launch in September for $299, currently works only when paired with Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 -- though the company plans to add more phones to that list.


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