Samsung add Galaxy Gear compatibility to 8 more smartphones

Updates to Galaxy smartphones will bring Gear compatibility and Android 4.3

Samsung GALAXY Gear BeigeSamsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch launched earlier this month, and whilst it is a functional and pretty piece of kit, the major downside was in it being locked down completely to the new Galaxy Note 3. This made Samsung’s target market for the Gear incredibly narrow, the high price in combination with a new handset also likely to put off a number of interested parties as well.

Thankfully Samsung provided a press release yesterday outlining their plans to bring Galaxy Gear compatibility to the most recent range of Galaxy handsets. If you have a Galaxy S4, S3, Note 2, S4 Mini, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, S4 Zoom or S4 Active then you’re in luck. OTA software updates will be rolling out soon as this snippet states:

Galaxy Gear will be available for use with Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II through the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) update. The update came first to Galaxy S4 devices in Germany in October. Samsung will also extend Galaxy Gear compatibility to other GALAXY devices – including Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 zoom – through a separate software update beginning at the end of October. Software update schedules for each device will vary by country and carrier

The release mentions that the update for the Galaxy S4 is beginning in Germany; here at Clove UK we can confirm that our in-house Gear is now able to connect to a recently updated UK SIM free Galaxy S4 as well.

Android 4.3

The Note 2, Galaxy S3 & S4 will also receive Android 4.3 Jelly Bean as part of this update. They will be moved up from 4.2.x and find new features including easier text input and updated graphics and multimedia. Certain Samsung features and apps will also get an overhaul including:

  • Samsung KNOX*, Samsung’s comprehensive enterprise & consumer security solution
  • Smart Switch transfers content from other smartphones to Samsung devices
  • HomeSync to store & share content securely between devices outside of a home network
  • Group Play 2.5 with shared video support

*Galaxy S III 3G version will get Samsung KNOX with a platform security only in select countries

via Samsung

Comments

  1. John Bramley says

    Hi Josh, here is an interesting (I hope) and not too controversial question for you. I now own a fully functioning Sony Smartwatch 2 sw2, I also own an i’m watch (although this I am tempted to sell, nice though it is! I have a Samsung Note 3 and an Xperia z1.

    Is it worth purchasing the Samsung Gear and if it was a battle between the Sony sw2 and the Samsung Gear, which would you rate higher?

    Nice blog by the way, I am hooked lol

    Cheers, John

    • Josh Bethell says

      Hi John, really good question. The crux of the matter will really lie in how much use you get out of your main phones.
      The Gear will not work with your Xperia, or anything outside of Samsung’s sanctioned Galaxy range devices. If you regularly swap out phones then the Gear will become useless as anything other than fancy looking timepiece every time you stray from Galaxy handsets.
      If you plan to stick to Samsung handsets for the foreseeable future (or at least most of the time) then I would recommend picking up a Gear if it’s in your budget. It does everything the SW2 does however there are a number of features that tie it into the Samsung ecosystem really well. The camera works brilliantly (if you like that sort of thing) and the call handling with speaker/microphone is excellent. Proper sci-fi being able to answer, hold a full conversation then hang up with your wrist alone!
      It’s been a detracting point in many reviews but I think Samsung’s decision to lock the Gear to their own devices will pay off in the end. It lets them focus on interoperability with their own services and tailor 3rd party support just how they want it. I can see the Gear being a slow burner, maybe with the second version next year really lighting up reviews – a bit like the original Note phone.
      It’s difficult to pick a ‘winner’ as they are clearly targeting different markets, Sony having the cheaper ‘catch-all’ approach.

      • John Bramley says

        Thanks for your quick and honest response!

        In view of the fact that my Sony works on my Samsung Note 3, for now I think I will stick to the one. Then again, I have several ‘normal’ watches, so having two different Smart-watches may not be as daft as it sounds!!

        Definitely going to sell my i’m watch and then put the money towards the Samsung Gear!

        Thanks for your input and no doubt we will correspond in the future.

        Cheers Josh