While the smartwatch game has been going for a while, Samsung only just jumped on board yesterday with the launch of the Galaxy Gear in many international markets. It is debuting with the Galaxy Note 3, and as such won’t be in the US until next week, but is being carried by all major carriers alongside the Galaxy Note 3. While these two seem to be a perfect match in Samsung’s marketing campaigns, many were disappointed with the Galaxy Gear was announced with only Galaxy Note 3 support. It seemed strange that Samsung would limit their first smartwatch to just one of their products, but since the Gear carries a premium price tag, it only makes sense to pair it with Samsung’s most premium device, right? Well this isn’t actually the reason for the exclusivity, rather the reason is because the Galaxy Gear only supports Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, and right now the Galaxy Note 3 is Samsung’s only phone with this support built in. Never fear though because the entire reason the Galaxy Note 3 has this support is because it ships with Android 4.3, which includes Bluetooth 4.0 LE inside of its code.
As we saw just yesterday, Samsung has begun testing Android 4.3 on the Galaxy Note 2, and this update will also be present on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S III. At the launch event for the Galaxy Note 3 in Seoul yesterday Samsung’s executive vice president of marketing, Lee Young-hee, told the Korea Times that Samsung plans to launch the Android 4.3 update with Galaxy Gear compatibility “by next month” for the Galaxy S4. Young-hee also went on to say that users of the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2 should expect this very same update by December. While that’s not quite as quick as HTC’s Android 4.3 update which has already started rolling out in some parts of the world, it’s still a quicker update schedule than nearly any other Android manufacturer out there. At one point Samsung was testing the Android 4.2.2 update for the Galaxy S III, but decided to forgo that update in favor of moving it straight to Android 4.3. Since Android 4.3 carries a number of major back-end updates including Bluetooth 4.0 LE, OpenGL ES 3.0, garbage collecting and other big things that the user might not see, it’s important to get their biggest phones on board with this update, if for no other reason than to ensure more Galaxy Gears sell. Will this update get you to spend the extra dough on a Galaxy Gear? Let us know!