Samsung's Galaxy Gear: Software update may highlight appeal (or lack of)

A software update will make Samsung's smartwatch compatible with its devices in the field. Get ready for use cases ahead.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch looks decent on paper, but a lack of compatibility with other devices from the company has made it more theoretical than anything. But Samsung may change that equation with an update that makes Galaxy Gear compatible with older devices.

On Monday, Samsung said that it will deliver a Premium Suite software update to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Note II and Galaxy S III that brings Gear compatibility.

Previously, shopping for a Gear smartwatch was met with a footnote that read:

At this time, Samsung Galaxy Gear is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

That footnote limited Gear appeal.

amazon galaxy gear


Now we'll get to see whether there is really much of a market for Gear and other smartwatches. The other wrinkle to consider is that the software update will also bring enterprise features to the phones getting Gear compatibility.

Add it up and there will be a few opportunities to test business applications with Gear and Samsung's smartphone line-up. Samsung has been pushing B2B use cases hard in verticals ranging from healthcare to education to financial services.

The only way Gear is going to get use cases built up is to be compatible with Samsung devices already in the field. Samsung has taken the first step---software updates will vary by carrier and product---but it'll be clear whether Gear has a future in the months ahead.

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