When Samsung announced the new Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear as a companion device, people were both excited and puzzled – after all, was the Gear a standalone smartwatch or a "companion" product for the Galaxy Note 3. Well, it turns out that it was the latter and if you wanted to use the $300 Galaxy Gear, then you also needed to purchase a $300 Galaxy Note 3 as well. It actually worked out quite nicely for Samsung at first, as many Galaxy Note 3 customers also purchased the Galaxy Gear at the same time. Since then Samsung has promised the Galaxy Gear will work with more Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy S4, S3, Note 2 and Galaxy S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 Zoom.
What most Galaxy Gear owners were waiting to arrive is the new firmware upgrade that our European friends have enjoyed for some time. This update is now available and focused on improving the notifications support, which was limited to a few of Samsung's own apps. After the upgrade, more third-party applications will share in the Galaxy Gear's notifications, such as Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, Hangouts, and Twitter. The update should also help with the "Smart Relay" function which allows the Galaxy Gear to perform more functions via your smartphone connection beyond notifications, as well as better gesture response when you move your arm to look at the face of the device.
The change log is listed here:
Improved range and connection: Samsung says the Gear can now stray a little farther from the phone before losing its connection. That's good â€" it felt pretty short before. The automatic connection feature has been improved as well.
Improved battery life. Again, that addresses one of the chief complaints about the Gear. We'll have to see how much longer it lasts.
S Voice search should be faster.
Your Gear's performance has been improved and its features have been enhanced.
For those of you clamoring for a better Galaxy Gear experience, this should at least add more functionality to your $300 "timepiece," and we look forward to the Galaxy Gear 2 to see if Samsung really makes this device more useful and desirable. Let us know on our Google+ Page what you think about the Galaxy Gear's latest firmware update – have you notice the improvements or put them through their paces yet – we would love to hear from you.