From Dick Tracy, to Star Trek, to Knight Rider, Samsung & Nissan's new smartwatches harken back to the fictional timepieces of our favorite entertainment of the past. While allowing us to dream about a future world of unbelievable gadgetry back then, TODAY-- Samsung and Nissan have melded the past with the future -- to provide us with super smart watches in the present.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear commercials are right on the mark when they talk about the "next big thing," being "a long time coming."
The irony however is Samsung's pack so much wizardry into "smartness" package, some reports are indicating you can't always tell time with it. Left idle, the Gear's 1.6-inch color touchscreen dims automatically after 10 seconds. And while you're told to flick the screen in those instances, nine-times-out-of-ten, you have to press the power button to reboot for the time. This is not the best option for drivers or bikers.
On all other fronts, this smart watch comes loaded for bear. It features a camera and 4GB of storage, an in-built pedometer function, a stopwatch, media controls and more that allow the user to perform all kinds of functions right from his or her wrist. It also features voice calling capability so users can make and receive phone calls. But let’s start at the beginning.
The only wrinkle is that phone is not independently operable. It's really only half a computer. The Galaxy Gear only works with Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3 phablet at present. Without the sister device, it's pretty much worthless. So if you're in the market for this smart watch, prepare to spend $600 — $300 for the Gear and $300 for a new Note 3 on contract.
Vlad Savov at The Verge summed up his review of the Gear saying, "Samsung describes it as a companion device, (but) the Gear is indeed chronically dependent on an umbilical link to another Samsung device."
So, if Samsung has not perfected the smart watch, does that leave the playing field open for its competitors? Perhaps the Apple iWatch is also quite not ready for prime time either, but maybe harkening back to the past once again, we can find one that will find it's real use in today's world.
It looks like the Nissan Nismo might fit the bill. This device helps drivers connect to their Nissan car with real-time data, a la David Hasselhoff's Knight Rider, and its a first watch of this type for a car manufacturer.
The Nissan Nismo detects the average speed and fuel consumption of the vehicle to monitor fuel efficiency. It can display performance data of the Nissan vehicle (such as average and top speeds), track the driver’s biometric data via the heart rate and display in-car alerts from the car.
Gareth Dunsmore, Nissan Marketing Communication General Manager, commented: "Wearable technology is fast becoming the next big thing and we want to take advantage of this innovative technology to make our Nismo Brand more accessible.” However, since this is only a concept at the moment, Nissan hasn't revealed any potential release dates or prices for the Nismo Watch just yet.
Its "Social Speed" software can also track and rate a driver's social performance across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. And with a longer charge than the Samsung Gear, the Nismo has a battery life of over seven days with normal usage. Oh, yes, and it can also tell time!