Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch could bring further separation from Google

Alleged specs for the reported Galaxy Gear smartwatch have leaked, but the most intriguing component is its app store

As the likely launch date for Samsung's smartwatch draws closer, details on the wearable gadget are coming into focus.

GigaOm is now reporting hardware specs and software details for the smartwatch, citing "sources who are familiar with Samsung's plans." This follows a report by Bloomberg that said the so-called Galaxy Gear smartwatch will debut on September 4.

The specs, if accurate, seem more powerful than other smartwatches, with a dual-core processor, a built-in camera, NFC capabilities and small speakers on the clasp of the watch. A built-in accelerometer may allow users to turn on the screen by moving their wrists toward their eyes.

The OLED touch screen will reportedly be square-shaped and measure roughly 2.5 inches diagonally, and the entire frame will measure 3 inches diagonally. If true, this would make Samsung's smartwatch larger than the Pebble. Despite the more powerful specs and large color display, GigaOm says battery life should be "pretty decent."

Other smartphones need not apply

The most interesting tidbit, perhaps, is the claim that Samsung will use its own app store to take advantage of the watch hardware. "That likely means if you want a Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, you'll need a Samsung Galaxy phone or tablet," Om Malik writes.

Samsung has dabbled in its own Galaxy-specific services before. With Samsung Wallet, for example, the company basically cloned Apple's Passbook service instead of relying on Google Wallet. The company's S Voice assistant competes with Google's own voice search for users' attention on Galaxy phones.

But until now, Samsung's phones and tablets have worked in peace and harmony with other Android devices. Although Samsung has its own app store already, it's not very popular compared to Google Play. The unified ecosystem for Android apps allows users to easily move between phones and tablets regardless of brand.

If Samsung does require the use of its own app store for the Galaxy Gear, it'll be the company's biggest attempt yet to take control of Android. And that's something only Samsung can pull off, as the largest Android device maker by far. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Samsung is holding its own developer conference in October.

Note: Main image is an  unofficial concept design by Johan Loekito from 2009

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Jared Newman

TechHive (US)
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