Samsung scrambled to finish Galaxy Gear smart watch & beat Apple's rumored 'iWatch' to market

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Samsung's recently released Galaxy Gear smart watch may be the product of a rushed development effort spurred on by rumors that Apple was preparing to enter the wearable technology segment in a big way.

The South Korean tech giant's latest smart watch offering debuted in September to no small amount of skepticism from tech observers. The device has since been widely panned in reviews, with critics pointing to its high price point, limited functionality, and poor battery life.

The device's failings may stem from a rushed development process, according to a new report from Cnet. That report paints a picture of a tech conglomerate able to take a device from concept to product in a matter of months, thanks to an authoritative management structure paired with a good deal of vertical supply chain integration.

Contrary to accusations that the company conceived and pushed out a watch device only after rumors emerged that Apple was working on the same, the report holds that Samsung had been working on Gear since 2011. Features of the product came out of consumer surveys conducted to see what customers most disliked about their smartphones.

We put all things together and said let's go for it.
? Samsung executive
Out of those surveys grew Gear aspects such as the in-band camera and the email notification system, and the concept of Gear began to coalesce. Top Samsung executives like CEO J.K. Shin soon threw their weight behind the project, but the company reportedly didn't get serious about building the device until the first quarter of this year, around the time that the Apple iWatch rumors began to heat up.

"We put all things together and said let's just go for it," one Samsung executive told Cnet of the decision to move forward.

Prior to that, the device existed largely in in the form of sketches, with a patent application showing off one possible design. The firm's U.S. arm ? charged with marketing and development for one of the most important tech markets ? had until then only seen a simple sketch of the smart watch, which was apparently in the design phase until shortly before its release. Samsung considered more than 100 designs before settling on the model it wound up revealing, and many of those working on the device or partnering with Samsung only had access to prototype designs. Most people working on the device had no idea what it would look like until Samsung showed it off in September.

Samsung Watch Patent
Samsung patent for a wrist watch computing device. | Source: Korean Intellectual Property Office.

Aspects such as the screws on the watch face were changed just days before Samsung's IFA keynote in Berlin. Samsung quickly produced new color variants of the device based on the suggestions of CEO Shin, with fast turnaround on such alterations made possible by the company's vertical supply integration.

The hardware design was not the only Gear aspect in flux; Samsung was also repeatedly tweaking the device's software. Gear's user interface color scheme, gesture controls, feature access points, and other items all underwent multiple changes in the weeks leading up to its unveiling. One Samsung executive says that the final release user interface looked completely different just one week before launch, with Samsung initially trying a standard Android-like app icon grid before settling on a tiled interface. The final release user interface looked completely different just one week before launch

The end result ? unveiled with a good deal of hype from the South Korean giant ? met with a tepid response at best, with reviewers praising some of the device's technical elements but bemoaning its multiple shortcomings. Samsung's smart watch, some said, was unable to to perform any truly "smart" functions.

Meanwhile, its rival Apple is still thought to still be working on its own wearable device. The iPhone maker reportedly has a team of 100 working on the device, which is said to pack a number of biometric sensors. Apple has also recently brought on talent from the worlds of fashion and fitness, possibly to work on its rumored wrist-mounted device.

Aside from possible Apple competition, the Galaxy Gear may have to contend with a wide range of wrist-targeted offerings over the next year. Sony already competes in the segment with a less expensive device that has received better reviews. Google is thought to be working on its own device for release in the near future, as is Microsoft. Chip maker Intel has also hired on talent from Nike and Oakley, possibly with the aim of entering the wearable segment.


  • Reply 1 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,665member
    There's a brave Scamsung. Way to go, take a guess at Apple's next move and try to beat it. But I bet you are a little worried about being way off target though eh? ;)
  • Reply 2 of 63
    This explains the corporate philosophies of both companies.

    Apple: Let's create extraordinary products, and when they're ready we'll put them in the marketplace.

    Samsung: Let's copy Apple, or just slap some crap together and rush it to market so we can be there first.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    The second Apple ticks Samsung needs to tock. I call amateur hour has started again. As usual, their timing is off. Can we expect this thing to have 25 hours in a day, just to have [I]that[/I] little bit ahead of its time?
  • Reply 4 of 63
    This is what happens when you focus on first to market instead of building the right thing.
  • Reply 5 of 63

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Samsung quickly produced new color variants of the device based on the suggestions of CEO Shin, with fast turnaround on such alterations made possible by the company's vertical supply integration.

    I think Shin believes he's the new Jobs. Don't believe the (self-delusional) hype.

  • Reply 7 of 63
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,504member
    I've been saying the same thing as this article since the watch was first mentioned. We could see this strategy with their voice controlled tv.

    Jobs says, in an interview for his bio that he's "cracked it". So commentators assume, rightly or wrongly, that it means Apple will use Siri in their tv. So Samsung rushes out a voice controlled tv. It gets poor reviews, as the voice control doesn't seem to really work. But the point is that Samsung can say they were first, and that now, for once, Apple is copying them.

    So we see the same thing happen with all the watch rumors, and with Tim Cook saying that this wrist is an area of "intense interest" for Apple. Of course, like their tv, the watch doesn't do much, and what it does it doesn't do well. But that's beside the point. And they can always fix the design and functionality AFTER Apple comes out with theirs, assuming that they will.

    We see this also with the gold phone. It's very amusing that in Samsung's appeal that they were first, and here they were, they state that; "We were making gold phones since before anyone wanted one". Yep, that's Samsung all right.
  • Reply 8 of 63
    19831983 Posts: 1,225member

    "Samsung's recently released Galaxy Gear smart watch may be the product of a rushed development effort spurred on by rumors that Apple was preparing to enter the wearable technology segment in a big way"

    It shows!

  • Reply 9 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,796member
    Samsung scrambled to finish Galaxy Gear smart watch TO beat Apple's rumored 'iWatch' to market.

  • Reply 10 of 63
    We all know that Apple's modus operendi has been to quietly observe the failings of others, then create their own vision of the product that avoids the pitfalls and exceeds expectations.

    Now they may be taking that strategy to a new level. Not enough bad products out there to analyze? Poke the hornets nest with the stick of a rumored iWatch, sit back and watch the fun.

    iWatch late next year thanks to Samsung's unwitting participation in Apple's product testing and evaluation program
  • Reply 11 of 63
  • Reply 12 of 63
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,154member

    Similarly, I produce a new "product" every day, aided by the extensive vertical supply chain integration of my digestive tract.

  • Reply 13 of 63 know...innovation!!

  • Reply 14 of 63

    I dont understand something.


    Samsung has been working on this since 2011, but at the same time they finished it only in "6 months" with massive changes in the last few weeks of release displaying the strength of their vertical integration.


    So which is it? 2 years, or 6 months?


    And the review claims it is style over substance. While that does seem to have been Samsung's attitude while developing this POS, I will quibble and call it "lack of style over substance" (points at the exposed screws).

  • Reply 15 of 63
    zeoszeos Posts: 6member
    Hey Apple Insider, quit placing Chevrolet ads over the top of your articles. Your readers/customers shouldn't have to maneuver around these ads to read the articles. You already have enough ads on your site. It already takes forever to load due to all of your ads. That is mistreating your customers. That's very low!
  • Reply 16 of 63

    Yeah, and how did that work out for them? They've had crappy reviews on a horrid product.

  • Reply 17 of 63
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    Wow. Bad enough that they put their name on such a crap product, but then their excuse is that they rushed it to beat Apple?

    Yeah, that's the kind of company with an eye towards quality that I want to do business with.

  • Reply 18 of 63
    Apple should release the rumour of an iToilet into the wild, and see how fast Samsung announces theirs. This goes for Google, Microsoft and Sony as well! SamGooMicroSo should form a consortium and call it Mee2.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,154member

    Since Kasper's Automated Slave is just regurgitating a press release, I hope someone in the mainstream press will call out Samsung on what is clearly a puff piece crafted to claim superiority in manufacturing. The Gear fiasco points to the huge missing pieces in their operation:  insight/intuition and design (all aspects).

  • Reply 20 of 63

    Btw, that CNet article absolutely reads like a paid advertorial. It probably isn't as obvious as that, but I bet it's something like "Hey CNet, we will give you exclusive interviews with all our top guys if you write a positive article about the Gear's development". And while even CNet isn't going to stoop as low as to call the turd that is this "smart"watch a decent product, they made it about Samsung, and how impressive they were in quickly delivering this (crap) product.

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