At the launch of the IFA consumers electronics fair on Wednesday, South Korean electronics giant Samsung unveiled its hotly anticipated smartwatch the Galaxy Gear. It allows users to make calls, receive texts and emails, and take photos.
JK Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division, predicted the Galaxy Gear – effectively a mobile you wear on your wrist – would become “a new fashion icon through the world”.
The new smartwatch has a touch screen of around four centimeters in a brushed-steel mount and wrist strap in six different colours. Contrary to rumours, it does not have a flexible screen.
With its arch rival Apple still to roll out its much rumoured “iWatch”, and the likes of Microsoft and Google not exhibiting at IFA, the South Korean giant has the field more or less to itself.
Unlike its competitors, the Samsung device allows users to make calls without taking their phone out of their pocket – instead, they can hold their wrist up to their ear and use the built-in speaker and microphone.
The first two days of the fair on Wednesday and Thursday, were reserved for the press, with doors to the public opening on Friday through to next Wednesday.
It will display the latest state-of-the-art gadgets on 145,000 square metres of exhibition space at the Berlin ExpoCenter.
Last year it attracted 240,000 visitors and this year smartphones and tablet computers are certain to be a big draw for visitors, as the dividing line between the two becomes more and more blurred, as is demonstrated by growth of so-called “phablets”.
Electronic household goods, such as state-of-the-art kitchen devices – from ceramic hot plates to refrigerators – as well as the latest in flat-screen television sets will also be on display.
Sales of flat-screen TVs are beginning to fall off in Germany, so manufacturers are looking to ultra-HD devices to spur consumer demand.
Catering to the growing trend to inter-connect all gadgets, Sony will present a new camera lens that can be linked up to a smartphone to transform into a powerful camera.
Organizers boast there will be more world premieres at this year’s IFA than ever before.