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05 Sep 2014 09:34
Samsung Galaxy Gear, which is one of many new wearable technologies. (AFP)
In the battle for gadget attention, there are a few dead certs. One is a new shape or format in smartphones.
Another is a new way of viewing content.
In all four of those categories, though, Samsung has taken aim both at the competition and at critics who question the company’s ability to continue innovating. At the annual IFA consumer technology expo in Berlin this week, it rolled out an astonishing range of new technologies:
The only one of these that may not be ready for prime time is the VR headset. While the immersive effect is impressive, the visual quality remains a little underwhelming for, say, watching a movie.
Tellingly, Samsung has not yet revealed pricing, so this may be a little like the first Galaxy Gear smart watch, which seemed to be a proof of concept rather than a serious attempt to conquer a market. In the same vein, then, we can probably expect a second or third edition in the coming years that will dazzle.
Despite this tentative effort, Berlin has fallen to the rest of the Samsung weaponry.
New products from SonyThe stiffest resistance came from Sony, which also rolled out a family of new products, most notably:
Then there was Asus with its ZenWatch, unusual in that it sports a leather strap. And Mota, pushing the wearable boundaries even further with a SmartRing, which delivers notifcations from a smartphone to a ring on your finger.
Wearable devicesThe most fascinating aspect of these products is where they are taking wearable devices. The SmartBand Talk positions Sony not so much against Samsung as alongside it. The companies’ devices are advancing on independent fronts rather than slugging it out for the same exact target market.
Of course, the big brands may not see it that way when they find they cannot dominate the overall category.
It does mean, however, that consumers will have an increasingly wider choice of wearable devices that suit their specific needs, rather than being forced to choose sides in a battle between identical formats.
Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za
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