Samsung today looked to douse the fires of doubt by announcing it has shipped more than 800,000 units of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The news came on the heels of reports that suggested Samsung had moved as few as 50,000 of the watches. Samsung went so far as to say the device had beat its expectations.
"It's the most sold wearable watch available in the marketplace and we plan to expand its availability by expanding mobile devices that work with the Gear," said Samsung in a statement.
The only other smartwatch maker to share sales numbers is Pebble, which recently revealed that it has sold 190,000 of its Pebble watches. Available since early this year, the Pebble was at first only available directly from Pebble, but it can also now be purchased from Best Buy. Sony has not shared shipment figures for either its SmartWatch or SmartWatch 2 products, the latter of which just went on sale.
[ Competition in the smartwatch market is heating up. Read Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch: Release Details. ]
The Galaxy Gear was introduced in September alongside the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. At launch the device could work only with the Note 3, which severely hindered its appeal. Samsung has already said several times that it will soon update devices such as the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note 2 so that they are compatible with the Gear. Those updates have yet to appear, however.
Shipments of the Note 3 reached about 10 million units in the first month the device was available. Comparing shipments of the Gear smartwatch clearly reveals that fewer than one in ten Note 3 purchasers also chose to pick up the Gear. This could be for any number of reasons.
The Gear costs $299.99 and uses Bluetooth to communicate with nearby smartphones. It is one of the most expensive smartwatches out there. (The Pebble, in comparison, costs half as much, at $150.) Currently only Qualcomm's Toq smartwatch, which goes on sale Dec. 2 for $349.99, is more expensive than the Gear. Still, at $299, the Gear is no bargain compared to the less costly competition.
The Note 3 comes with an app for managing the smartwatch, which includes a full-color screen, speakerphone, camera, and about 70 applications. The Gear can be used to answer/reject incoming calls, receive messaging alerts, control a music player, and dictate text messages thanks to S Voice integration. Perhaps once Samsung updates more of its devices with Gear compatibility, sales will pick up.
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