Whatever you think of the Samsung Galaxy Gear, it’s clear that the market for smartwatches is finally beginning to materialize. The market may not be very big until we see an iWatch come from Apple, but Samsung’s efforts are definitely notable and we’re pretty sure it will be able to move quite a few units. We recently put the Galaxy Gear against the Sony Smartwatch 2 head to head and one of the biggest cons to the Gear is that it will only work for other Galaxy devices. But it gets a little worse.
The Galaxy Gear will only support Android 4.3 and up, leaving you with only the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 at launch. Samsung did announce that the Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4 would be arriving in October, so soon there will be three supported devices for the Gear. The reason behind this requirement is likely because Android 4.3 adds native support for Bluetooth LE (low-energy), and if you’re still rocking a Galaxy S II, it’s time for an upgrade.
Samsung has a pretty decent track record when it comes to updating its devices in a (somewhat) timely manner, so when its four most popular devices (GS3, GS4, Note 2, and Note 3) are up and running with Android 4.3, the majority of the qualms customers have may be taken care of.
Samsung’s closed ecosystem for the Galaxy Gear may not be our favorite, but we can still see what the company is trying to do. Still, requiring Android 4.3 on a limited set of devices makes the Sony Smartwatch 2 look a bit more attractive, given that any smartphone running Android 4.0 or higher will be supported.