Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch looks rushed, misses the mark

Summary:Samsung might be beating its prime competition to the wearables war, but being first doesn't guarantee a win.

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The "Samsung Unpacked" event should have been named "Samsung Unraveling."

That's because, based on today's unveiling of the tech giant's anticipated entry into the burgeoning smartwatch market, it's clear that Samsung has dropped the ball.

It's also evident that Samsung doesn't understand the wearable technology market yet either.

To be fair, it's still a rather new space.

From the Nike FuelBand even to Google Glass, there are only a handful of wearable tech devices that the average consumer with a casual knowledge of mobile gadgets might know by name.

See CNET Hands On with Samsung Gear

That's all about to change if you listen to some tech industry analysts and manufacturing leaders.

Last week, Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor admitted during a Q&A session with members of the San Francisco tech press that it's hard to predict just how big the wearable tech market will end up being based on varying analyst reports.

Still, he speculated that most believe the sector will grow by a factor of 10 over the next five years.

The Galaxy smartphone and tablet maker is arguably the biggest name in mobile technology to get in the game to date.

Following up Samsung's introduction today as well as another SmartWatch generation from Sony, Apple is eventually expected to deliver its own entry. Rumors are also heating up around the Google camp -- especially after the Android maker's acquisition of WIMM Labs on Friday .

Still, Samsung has left the door wide open with the Galaxy Gear, which looks both rushed and exorbitantly priced at the same time.

With a $299 price tag, there was nothing conveyed during Wednesday's live-streamed presentation to justify why anyone should pay that much for a companion device that will initially only work with two other Samsung devices rolling out this fall.

A smartwatch (or any piece of wearable tech for that matter) shouldn't be released just to act as an accessory to a smartphone or tablet -- it should fill a void all on its own by being more mobile, cheaper, or a combination of both.

The Galaxy Gear doesn't come close to answering any of that.

(Let's not even get into how disappointing the overall clunky design is. If you want to know how I feel about that, then look no further than what my ZDNet colleague Andrew Nusca had to say earlier. All I can add is that Dick Tracy had a cooler-looking wristband.)

For a company that is the manufacturing leader of the Android ecosystem and topping the mobile OEM charts around the globe, we should all expect better. One has to wonder if Samsung is starting to crack under the pressure.

In the end, my only conclusion is that Samsung just wanted to beat Apple to the punch here.

Rumors have been swirling around for months that Apple is developing what has been referred to in the media as an "iWatch." Apple has confirmed that it will be hosting a media event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters next Tuesday, September 10 , expected to cover the highly-awaited next generation of the iPhone.

But Apple hasn't even confirmed that it is working on a smartwatch yet -- and there's no rush to do so now either.

Samsung might be beating its prime competition to the wearables war, but being first doesn't guarantee a win.

Images via Samsung

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Samsung, Smartphones, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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