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Is Samsung intentionally holding back Galaxy Gear compatibility?

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Is Samsung intentionally holding back Galaxy Gear compatibility?
The short answer: probably. The long answer is a bit more complicated though. One of the more annoying aspects of the Samsung Galaxy Gear is that the device only works with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition), but since a lot of the functionality is tied to web connectivity, connecting the Gear to a tablet doesn't help much. The reasoning wasn't quite explained, but seemed to be tied to Android 4.3, which added native Bluetooth 4.0 low energy support to Android, because Samsung has said that compatibility would expand as more Galaxy devices get the 4.3 update. 

The thing is that many Android manufacturers have been adding Bluetooth 4.0 LE support to devices for a while, so that means there is less reason why the Gear would have to be locked to other Galaxy devices. This has been proven by XDA Developers member ‘clifford’, who was able to successfully install the Galaxy Gear Manager app on an HTC One. He was able to get almost all of the functionality to work, only S Voice didn't work. 

The trick was that the app didn't work with the stock HTC One ROM, and would only work on the omj ROM (Android 4.1.2). When attempting to install the app on a stock HTC One, it would trigger a "validation check failed" error message. Oddly, no one seems to have tried loading the app on an HTC One Google Edition running Android 4.3, but we'd be interested to see how that turns out. 

Obviously the integration with S Voice will cause issues with non Samsung devices. Samsung would have to expand the software to work with Google's voice commands. But otherwise, it seems like there is little reason why the Gear wouldn't be able to work with Nexus devices at the least (if Android 4.3 is really a necessity). We've been thinking that Samsung is trying to keep the compatibility limited in order to create something of an artificial beta test for the Gear, which seems like a rushed product. 

source: XDA via SamMobile

20 Comments
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posted on 06 Oct 2013, 17:43 5

1. papss (unregistered)


I held one at att and the build quality was quite nice. Metal frame and bottom and the design looks better than expected. It's a real shame it's so limited.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 22:05 4

9. AwesomestMaximuss (Posts: 104; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Michael H just hates Gear,,,watching him bashing it since before it was even released..
I am using Galaxy gear and it is working as its supposed to..u get a day of battery life which is not great but completely fine..we have to charge most of our rechargeable devices daily anyway...And I think being exclusive to Samsung devices gives the owners some special benefits...so it could be good for both the company and its customers....customers get exclusive stuff and the company gets a better ecosystem which may attract more customers..and this is why Samsung is doing this,not because it is for beta testing...

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:08

11. joey_sfb (Posts: 2549; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


My gear last the whole day with more than 70% of battery left. I don't think battery is an issue, Sony Smart Watch 1 also has a battery life of one and the half day.

I think the number one problem with Gear is Samsung actually charge US$300. Remember Pebble only cost $150 or less.
Yes, its stainless steel like other premium watch but i think they could have done better with both a plastic version $99 and the premium version.

Gaining wider acceptance is current smart watch's priority and cost does matters.

posted on 11 Oct 2013, 22:44

20. Daftama (Posts: 562; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Just got my gear today gotta say using it from 1230 with 88% battery with all day usage got down to about 25% around 1130 stop complaining mean hating for first addition

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 17:51 9

2. Rydsmith (Posts: 110; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


Funny Sony Smartwatch gets better battery life, more uses, not as sluggish, and costs $100 less.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 17:56 2

3. Miracles (Posts: 458; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)


^ What they said. :D

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 19:23 9

6. DaHarder (Posts: 152; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)


Oh Please... I have the first and second generation of Sony's 'smart-watch' and have been using/demoing the Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note combo for about 4 days now and the Sony is nowhere near as functional or capable as the Galaxy Gear and the battery life is only better because it does exponentially less than the Galaxy Gear.

Given that the Galaxy Gear is 'wrist wear', and easily last a 'full work day', most reasonable people will have no issue with taking it off before bed and placing it in its charger.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 23:21 1

10. Hustlin (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Mar 2012)


Oh Please..smartwatches are the kind of devices where the less it does, the better.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:21 2

13. joey_sfb (Posts: 2549; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


just wear a normal watch or don't.

We are moving towards a society where readily accessibility to technology is key to the nation's progress and success.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:38 2

14. Daftama (Posts: 562; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Progress yes... Success is something else.. Stupid Michael How.. I wonder how much icrap pays him for such articles.. I sell the gear watch everyone that holds one loves it... What they saw on TV and what they see in person completely different... Yes it's in early stages look at icrap 1 it didn't even have video recording and look at icrap 1pad no camera really.. So yea for a first Samsung smart watch it's phenomenal

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 03:25

18. boosook (Posts: 898; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


That's because Sony realized that doing a "smartwatch" that's more or less a full-featured android appliance (including camera!) would have created something that is not a real smartwatch, with a terrible battery life and too big. That's why they chose to stick to the smartwatch concept, that is, a device that couples with your phone to show you some notifications but there's no need to fill it with features it this means that the thing becomes unusable.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:13 2

12. joey_sfb (Posts: 2549; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


"sluggish"? Do you actually own one to make such a comment.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 18:43 1

4. Fuego84 (Posts: 259; Member since: 13 May 2012)


Even if Samsung is holding back compatibility of the watch it doesn't matter because the battery life is terrible.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 19:17 5

5. DaHarder (Posts: 152; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)


No It Isn't... I've been using one for 4 days now (courtesy of my Samsung regional rep) and have ZERO difficulty getting through a full day and a half of pretty heavy use and given that I (nor anyone else I know) don't (doesn't) sleep in my (their) wrist-wear e.g. watch anyway, charging it at night is completely within reason.

If you, or anyone else, fails to find use for the device Then Don't Buy One.

There'll still be plenty of us who will buy and use the Samsung Galaxy Gear and its accompanying Samsung host devices.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 20:07

7. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 962; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


The Galaxy Gear will be more comaptible once more devices are able to update to Android 4.3 like the S3 and the Note 2. Im not sure if Id buy one, but its almost "Star Trek" like to have the Galaxy Gear to answer phone calls lol

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 20:56 1

8. Blazers (Posts: 187; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


The next version needs to ditch the camera. It just creeps people out, and looks tacky (not to mention you can't change wristbands). If you need to take a photo, pull your phone out of your pocket like everyone else does.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:50

16. joey_sfb (Posts: 2549; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


At first i also think that the camera is not useful and lately i being snapping work related photo. Like cable trunking layout, contractors passing me pieces of paper writing.

Its handy because i don't have to hold a phone with a fear that i might drop my phone, just briefly twist my gear watch and snap.

In other words, the gear function grow on you. I even started answering my call with the watch because i am too lazy to reach into my pocket for the note 3.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 00:49 1

15. eggkingmaster (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


No offense but i think the galaxy gear is a waste of time, its only use is probably taking pictures in a creepy way. im all about wearable tech, but if a watch cant even handle a full week at minimal. Then its kinda waste if time i feel, same goes for phones not lasting a full day of use

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:35

19. Daftama (Posts: 562; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


The watch isn't for nor a smartphone you should owe a zack Morris phone

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 02:44

17. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Nonsense. If you realize how much security gates have to be passed - then closed - to practically control your phone remotely, then understand it takes considerable effort to make the compatible app for each phone. The Gear also requires BT4.0 & Android 4.3 low-energy solutions that makes the Note 3 and maybe the Nex4, S4 GE & HTC One the only capable devices as of now. It simply takes time to get it ready.

The Gear is just the tip of the iceberg and recommended to skip the 1st one. With long-lasting strap-battery, flexible display, bone conducting audio output and a universal Android app, it WILL be a very capable smart watch leaving your phone in your pocket more often than not, but as always, early adopters have to do all the feedback and suggestions.

The Galaxy 1 wasn't quite ready to take on the iPhone, nor the Note 1 truly unleashed phablets - but look at where they are now!

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