At Samsung’s IFA unveiling today, Samsung took the curtain off of their much-anticipated Smartwatch, officially known as the Galaxy Gear. This smart watch boasts an impressive 1.6 inch AMOLED 320 x 320 screen as well as 1.9 megapixel camera for capturing short videos and quick pictures,
All of these features should make every Android fan stand in line to purchase one of the smart watches but unfortunately there is a catch. The Galaxy Gear will only work with select Samsung Devices running Android 4.3 or higher. Samsung currently lists the Galaxy Note 3 and 2013 Galaxy Note 10.1 as the only two supported devices. One thing to note; The Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, which is running 4.3, is absent from this list which leads us to assume that TouchWiz based ROMs are also a requirement.
This news is quite disappointing to owners of non-Samsung phones as well as owners of older Samsung devices. Samsung did report that they expect to add more devices to the supported list as they are upgraded to Android 4.3 however they would did not offer a definitive timeline. Based on the track record on how carriers handle upgrades, we do not expect this to happen soon. If you are a Verizon customer, you may just want to hold out for the Galaxy Gear 3.
Based on all of the TouchWiz-centric features, we do not expect any support for non-Samsung devices or third-party ROMs (AOSP, CyanogenMod, AOKP, ParanoidAndroid, etc). This also includes owners of the Google Play variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4. It is possible this could change but we are not holding our breath. If you fall into this category, you may want to look at a Pebble or Sony’s SmartWatch 2. I even hear that Qualcomm may be cooking up one as well.
The Samsung Gear Watch is expected to go on sale along with the Galaxy Note 3 and the 2013 Galaxy Note 10.1 this month. You will likely need to purchase both to get this accessory to work.