Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Details Slip Out

Official announcement is set for September 4.

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Albert Gea / Reuters

Although Samsung isn’t talking about its Galaxy Gear smartwatch until next week, some of the details are already leaking.

Between reports by GigaOM and Amongtech, we now have a possible list of specs for the high-tech watch. Meanwhile, screenshots of the setup software give us a sense of what the experience will be like.

Here’s the reported spec list for the Galaxy Gear:

  • 2.5-inch OLED display with 320-by-320 resolution
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 4-megapixel camera with 720p video capture
  • Speakers, accelerometer, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Android Jelly Bean
  • 10 hours of battery life

Basically, it’s the specs of a low- to mid-range smartphone, crammed into a watch. That’s impressive, but the one point of concern is the 10-hour battery, which would pale in comparison to the Pebble or Sony’s upcoming Smartwatch 2. The former uses a black-and-white low-power LCD, while the latter will come with a color transflective screen, and both promise at least a few days on a charge. It’s unclear whether the 10 hours on this spec sheet include idle time, or only refer to active use. Either way, it sounds like you’d want to charge it most nights.

These specs don’t tell us what the Galaxy Gear will actually look like, but GigaOM has said to expect a square screen, with the entire watch face measuring about 3 inches diagonally. Flexible display technology is coming, but Samsung has said not to expect it in the Gear.

As for software, the reliable evleaks has posted a pair of screenshots showing “Gear manager,” a smartphone app that you use to set up the watch. These screenshots show NFC-based pairing, allowing users to make a Bluetooth connection by tapping the phone against the watch. The app also lets users set clock faces, manage their apps and locate the watch, presumably by having it make a sound.

As GigaOM has reported already, Samsung will likely offer its own app store for the watch, rather than going through Google Play. It’s possible that you’ll need a Samsung phone to use the Galaxy Gear, but we don’t know that for sure.

The one thing I’m still wondering after looking over these details is whether Samsung has any tricks up its sleeve. Right now, it looks like the Galaxy Gear is just another watch with apps on it, and maybe some notifications. Other watches such as Pebble and Sony’s Smartwatch have already gone down that road, and the market for that kind of device is limited. As my colleague Harry McCracken has written, we’re still in search of a killer use case for these wearable gadgets.

We’ll see what Samsung has in store on September 4, when the company is expected to announce the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone as well.