Even though we half expected some sort of Samsung wearable to make a cameo at Google I/O, we’re still a bit surprised the Korean company made an Android Wear device. Samsung made it a point to ditch Android for Tizen with its recent smartwatches, but the company decided to re-kindle its relationship with the Gear Live, which is among the first Android Wear devices to be available this summer—and it’ll cost you $199.99.
The Gear Live’s appearance is pretty much identical to previous Samsung smartwatches, and that’s a mostly good thing; the most recent Gear wearables looked great, so we pretty much know what to expect in terms of design. Other than that, we were able to get a short demonstration of Android Wear and the kind of functionality we can expect in a finished product. It looks great, and certainly a lot smarter than the wearables we’ve seen over the last few years.
Even though the unit we saw at I/O was a demo, we came away impressed. Even with unfinished software, the Live was quick and responsive, and gave us a great idea of what the Android Wear experience will be like. We’ve been promised the future of wearables for awhile now, and we’re more hopeful than ever these new devices will deliver. (We should be getting an even better idea when these things are handed out to press.)
We’re really excited to take a deeper dive into Android Wear. The Gear Live looks to be a great representation of the future of smartwatches; the hardware, as we already knew, is great, and some of the big hardware features were carried over in this iteration, such as the heart-rate monitor. It sounds like battery life at the moment is rated for about a day, which is pretty disappointing. But hopefully with more development and optimization that’ll be improved quite a bit.
You can pre-order the Gear Live starting today for $200 in the Play Store, which is a pretty good deal for such a promising device. Expect shipments to start going out July 7, with some form of retail availability soon after that.