With necklaces giving you health advice and headbands helping you get better beauty sleep, it's easy to see why wearable technology excites the health and wellness industry. But now, some of the coolest wearable tech is lighting up other industries as well. It's changing the way we engage with media and talk to each other — and it's all happening from our wrist.
The Galaxy GEAR, available at Verizon Wireless stores, isn't just another fitness gadget that counts your calories. Instead, it allows you to shoot micro-films from your wrist and keep tabs on your phone's activity when you left it charging at the bar last night. It basically enables your smartphone's magical powers to be even more convenient and accessible.
Galaxy GEAR is the scrappy sidekick to your Galaxy Note 3, offering a hands-free access to the Galaxy's smartphone features, all from your wrist. Its 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a 320 x 320 resolution and single-core 800MHZ Exynos processor lets you see your smartphone's notifications and contacts.
Although this watch packs a powerful tech punch, it's actually quite nimble and not bulky as critics had first predicted. The intuitive metal clasp and casing for the face of the watch, as well as the variety of band colors — from bright orange to soft rose gold to neutral black — make it an appealing accessory for a variety of situations, not just workouts.
Aesthetic versatility aside, the watch is lightweight and ergonomical. And the design of the watch band is as smart as it is sleek. Embedded within the wrist straps is a BSI sensor and autofocus lens, which helps you capture quick photos or 10-second videos on the fly. You can then use the device's Memographer to instantly send your images and videos to your phone and networks. It's almost like adorning your wrist with a mini-multimedia producer.
The Galaxy GEAR is a multi-touch experience. Its swipeable touchscreen allows you to toggle between display screens easily, a behavior users are accustomed to on their Galaxy handsets. The design also includes a small button on the right-hand side of the watch, similar to those on traditional watches. Touching the button once sends you back to the homescreen. Two touches launches S-voice (more on that in a moment). A third tap of the side button activates the Safety Assistance feature — sending your location and a message that there's been an emergency to a trusted contact.
One key driver of the synergy between the Galaxy GEAR and the headset is S-voice, Samsung's version of voice control. If the phone rings, you can raise your GEAR to your ear and the embedded speakers and mic connect to the phone. The reverse is also true: you can use the GEAR in S-voice mode to command your phone. The Galaxy GEAR gets major bonus points for easy connectivity to your smartphone — imagine never having to fish around for your phone in your bag or pocket again. And if you ever do have trouble locating your smartphone, the Galaxy GEAR has the ability to locate it.
One of the most appealing aspects of Galaxy GEAR is its ability to host a number of apps. Samsung boasts over 70 collaborative apps to choose from that you can be downloaded from your phone's Galaxy GEAR Manager app. Tools like Evernote and popular wellness trackers like Runkeeper are among the key software features that make the watch adaptable to your myriad needs.
Remote Control Galaxy GEAR, available at Verizon Wireless, can help you manage your lifestyle, your communications, and your content, all from the convenience of your wrist. It'll be interesting to see what other collaborations will arise to appeal to the rapidly growing desires and expectations of the smartphone user. Only time will tell. (Wink!)
For more glimpses of how technology is shaping the future, head to homeofthefuture.gizmodo.com.
Kristina Loring is an independent radio producer, writer, and digital strategist living in San Francisco. She loves exploring the hidden design in cities and riding a bicycle away from tech epicenters toward the sea.