A report from Korean site Business Korea ignited the tech media and business news outlets early in the morning. Yes, to go with those not-so-good reviews and ratings, the naysayers had been proven right. The Galaxy Gear’s sales “are poor”… That was before Samsung released a statement clarifying that the 50,000 figure being quoted was for the Korean market only. Now we know that the Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s first attempt at making a smartwatch for the masses has had well over 800,000 units shipped to suppliers worldwide. That is no mean feat for a product that is considered a fashion accessory, something you can do without and one that is priced just like a high end smartphone on contract ($299).
There are few questions we should be asking ourselves though: while the Galaxy Gear managed to hit the 800,000 mark and with many in the forums complaining that they are yet to receive their ordered units which means the one million mark will be reached soon, can the device sell better? What can Samsung do to make sure the Gear is attractive?
The Gear has been heavily marketed and it has benefited a lot from the usual attention that members of the Galaxy Note line receive thanks to its pairing with the Note 3 but is that enough? Unlike Apple which seems to have some natural laws of attraction between it and its fans, Samsung has had to struggle to get its products out there. Funny thing is they have a knack for convincing the masses to believe in their “dreams” (the best example is the Galaxy Note). Also, they are not afraid of trying things out (Galaxy Camera, Galaxy Round…).
There is no shortage of opinion on what Samsung can do and many agree that widening the support base of the gadget is a good start. Yes there are people out there who may not be owners of Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II or Galaxy Note 3 but still want to see what it is they can do with a smartwatch on their HTC One or Xperia Z. Opening up the Gear to support such is a good. While Samsung already has millions of people on the planet using its Galaxy devices, it can increase that number by using the Gear (future updated versions perhaps) to bundle special features that are exclusive to Galaxy devices even though the smartwatch is compatible with any Android phone. This has worked well for the Galaxy Note line since many will hold back buying just any phablet out there since it does not have the features of that the Notes pack.
The price of the Gear too needs to be looked at. Many argue that it is the inclusion of the camera on the Gear that raised the watch’s price but maybe Samsung can consider making two versions of the gadget: one that will have a camera module for all the creepy folks out there who delight in taking random anonymous shots and anyone who finds it handy and another version that is just the Gear minus the camera. The first version would be competitively priced just like the Gear currently is while the second version (without the camera) would have its price lowered a bit. Trust me, a smartwatch with the Samsung Galaxy branding and of good quality as expected at anything below or around $180-199 would be a killer. Of course making the Gear better than it is now and more independent of companion devices is the ultimate improvement factor but hey, those are just opinions.
Do you think the Galaxy Gear will be a success?