Sept. 4 - Samsung hopes a watch that acts more like a smartphone than a time keeper will put it in the lead as gadget makers fight for attention in a flurry of product announcements timed for the holidays. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's the race to watch - or "the watch" to be exact - and Samsung is hoping to take the lead. Galaxy Gear is Samsung's attempt to jump start the wearable tech market with a so-called smartwatch. The upside: this device can do just about anything a smartphone can do with the simple flick of the wrist. The downside: it has to be connected to an Android smartphone or tablet like the two new Galaxy models unveiled. That may be a turn off for customers thinking of buying a smart watch from Samsung, Apple, Google, or any of the half dozen device makers rumored to be designing one, says CNET Senior Editor Scott Stein. SOUNDBITE: SCOTT STEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, CNET (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Watches like the Peeble and others that are out there are a little friendlier being iOS and Android capable and I think the one that will really hit it out of the park is the one that works across plaftorms. So we are going to have to see. People are not going to want to lock it up with one phone. They probably want it to work throughout their entire home or with a variety of devices." REPORTER STAND-UP: CONWAY G. GITTENS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: Samgung has crammed a lot into the Galaxy Gear including, a surprise to many analysts, this small camera. But at a $300 price tag, the question is will consumers consider this gadget a must have or a wait to have as many other devices come on the market. And there are plenty of other gadgets to choose from heading into the crucial holiday spending season. The watch goes up against the latest iPhone or iPhones to be unwrapped on September 10th. A lower-cost iPhone has long been rumored, but an expansion to colors and better functioning may be the refresh Apple needs to get back its mojo in its two largest markets - China and the U.S. SOUNDBITE: SCOTT STEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, CNET (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think maybe the focus should be a little more on the absolutely essential useful features. If you think about what Apple did with the MacBook Air, really bumping up the battery life, I think if the battery life could be maxed out on the next iPhone that would be a great move. It doesn't sound like the sexiest thing but I think a lot of people would like that." And the battle for tech dollars goes beyond watches and phones. Microsoft just announced its pricey Xbox One will be ready for gamers on November 22nd in 13 countries, but that's one week later than the U.S. debut of the Sony PlayStation 4. Meanwhile, expectations are rising that Amazon will light up the holidays with a new Kindle Fire and there's also speculation a new iPad will keep sending other tablets to the graveyard. But many gadgets are seeing slower growth these days, leaving device makers working against the clock to find the next big thing.