Gear up: the Android wearable for the rest of us?

This past week, there’s been a lot of Android activity coming out of the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin. Notably, Samsung launched some new hotly-anticipated Android devices, one of which could change how consumers interact with their Android tech.

Galaxy Note 3

First up was the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. This new phablet checks in with a crisper 5.7-inch AMOLED screen and a leather-style back that gives it a more sophisticated look and feel. While the new stylus-enabled Air Command feature has added access to a number of new functions, reaction to the implementation (and the stylus’ usability) has been…well, mixed.

The Note 3 will ship with Jelly Bean 4.3, come in 32 and 64 GB versions in both black and white, and will be available later this year. The Note 3 will be available at carriers and electronics resellers across the country, with Canadian pricing to follow.

Don’t forget the tablets

Samsung also launched an updated version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, with many of the same stylus-enabled features found in the Note 3. This new model comes with a 2560×1600 screen. Again, it will be available later this year, and will ship with Jelly Bean 4.3 onboard.

Strap it on

The most intriguing of the new announcements has to be the new Galaxy Gear, which is a new smartwatch designed to connect to your Android device.

True, the Gear isn’t the first such device – in fact, we took a look at Sony’s version just over a year ago, and the company has just released an update in the form of the SmartWatch 2. And, of course, there’s Google Glass. But the extra functionality of the Gear, tag-teamed with the strength of the rest of Samsung’s Android offering, could serve to put wearable computing into (onto) the hands of a more mainstream audience.

The Gear comes with a bright touchscreen, a speaker and microphone, and a camera. That camera, for some reason, faces in a different direction from the screen, which means you can’t look at the screen while pointing the camera at yourself…which means the Dick Tracy watch isn’t quite here yet, despite the number of other apps that can be put onto the watch. Rats.

In the near term, the Gear will only work with the Galaxy Note 3 or the new Tab 10.1, though ultimately compatibility is expected for other Android smartphones.

The biggest downside that’s been flagged for the Gear has been its size – it seems to be a fairly imposing thing to strap onto your wrist if you’re used to a typical wristwatch. But, almost certainly, there will be people willing to wear a huge brick on their wrist for cutting-edge features.

As with the Note 3 and Tab 10.1, the Gear is expected to ship later this year. Pricing has been announced as $299 in the United States, so expect pricing to be adjusted appropriately for the Canadian market.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers is a freelance writer, video producer and host based in Toronto, Canada. Most recently, he was a Senior Producer at, where he was responsible for the conception, writing, production and editing of a number of web video shows, including Lab Rats, How Do I?, Status Update, The Noob, and more.

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