Steve Wozniak Calls Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch "Worthless"

Steve Wozniak Calls Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch "Worthless"

Steve Wozniak 310x

The Woz sold his Galaxy Gear on eBay after a day of use.

Steve Wozniak needs no introduction, and he's still a highly sought-after engineer when it comes to keynote discussions, and gaining insight on where consumer technology is heading. So it comes as no surprise that iWoz has a few thoughts on wearable tech, particularly smartwatches.

After giving a talk at the Flying Car conference in Milwaukee, Wozniak did some Q&A about wearable technology with Xconomy. The Apple co-founder has tried a few different smartwatches, and says the smart-but-not-really Martian models perform well (even if they don't have a full LCD display). So far he doesn't seem to be an unabashed fan of current offerings from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Pebble. Due to the timing of the interview, it's not clear if Wozniak has gotten any serious hands-on time with Android Wear devices.

His worst smartwatch experience? The Samsung Galaxy Gear. "That was the only technology I bought to experiment with that I threw out after half a day, sold it on eBay because it was so worthless and did so little that was convenient," Wozniak said to Xconomy. "You had to hold it up to your ear and stuff."

It's not clear if Wozniak is referring to the older Galaxy Gear models, or the new Android Wear-packing Galaxy Gear Live. With the interview happening last week, my guess is it's an earlier model.

I've yet to try either the Galaxy Gear Live or LG G Watch myself -- I'm holding out for the Moto 360 before I spend any money on a wearable -- but the reviews (The Verge, Gizmodo) seem to be largely positive.

Have you tried any of the Android Wear-toting watches yet? If you have, drop your impressions in the comments.

Source: Xconomy

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I just want a watch-phone that will play the "Go Go Power Rangers" chime when it rings. Is that really so much to ask?

I'd never heard of Martian, but I looked it up and the Notifier is exactly what I've been asking for in a smartwatch -- a classic-looking analog watch that's not too expensive, and just happens to also connect with your phone. Apparently that one uses two batteries, so it can still function as a watch, even if the battery powering the bluetooth and whatnot dies.

Is it so much to ask that my smartwatch not try to duplicate all the functions of my phone?

I guess we can take this statement with a bag of salt. After all, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor in the smartphone business. Praising their products would be bad for business.

Chaosritter:
I guess we can take this statement with a bag of salt. After all, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor in the smartphone business. Praising their products would be bad for business.

But does Woz even still work for Apple?

Even though he was a founding member, I always saw Apple as a turned page for him... I don't think there is too much bias involved.
(I am just guessing here... Perhaps I'm utterly wrong...)

ZZoMBiE13:
I just want a watch-phone that will play the "Go Go Power Rangers" chime when it rings. Is that really so much to ask?

You can do that with the Galaxy Gear...it's just a shame you have to run a custom ROM to do it.

OT: Understandable. It's a pretty decent piece of hardware but unfortunately doesn't live up to it's full potential out of the box. That being said, after quite a bit of fuffing about it does literally everything I want it to.

Big_Boss_Mantis:

Chaosritter:
I guess we can take this statement with a bag of salt. After all, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor in the smartphone business. Praising their products would be bad for business.

But does Woz even still work for Apple?

Even though he was a founding member, I always saw Apple as a turned page for him... I don't think there is too much bias involved.
(I am just guessing here... Perhaps I'm utterly wrong...)

He left Apple decades ago, but he's a share holder.

Woz knows hardware/software, but wasn't a marketing guy, and smartwatches are made of 80% marketing.

I LEGITIMATELY do not see the point of "Smart" watches. a watch has ONLY ever had one major important use, and that is to tell time, at a glance. Everything else, you can use your phone for, or wait till you get home and do it on your computer, or do it on your laptop while slurping your overpriced starbucks. and I know someone will say "well by that logic phones would never have been mobile" hey, don't get me wrong. if we got wristwatch communicators like star trek but on steroids first, and mobile phones second, I woulda said the same thing about the phones. its a matter of redundancy.

with the exception of the bluetooth earpiece, or, as I like to call them, the "Automatic Asshole Maker" ("WHAAAT? Sorry, I can barely hear you in this public place! sure, i can talk!" "yeah, a large pizza ple~he said what?!"), most phone accessory wear seems like more trouble than just taking your phone out and and glancing at it. Almost everyone does it anyway, so eh *shrugs*

ZZoMBiE13:
I just want a watch-phone that will play the "Go Go Power Rangers" chime when it rings. Is that really so much to ask?

That's the one reason I'd get one of these watch-phone things too.

Of course I'd have to step aside and answer with "I read you, Zordon" whenever someone called.

Chaosritter:
I guess we can take this statement with a bag of salt. After all, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor in the smartphone business. Praising their products would be bad for business.

Not really. Wozniak really is a technology and gadget-geek, who loves technology and loves to see where it's headed. He actually went on record to call Apples Siri-system "Poo poo" :o)

Gizmodo once asked him how his backpack looked. Check out all of the devices he is carrying in the picture here, both Android and Apple (and yes, he really does carry them all around at the same time, although the picture is a few years old by now).

I have a 1st gen Pebble and Gear.
Sure they're pricey, but both do exactly what I want from them: Notify me of calls/messages, and who they're from so I know whether to bother digging my phone out (I'm one of those folk who doesn't live constantly glued to my phone screen - it lives in my bag. Only have to charge it once every 4-6 days!). They also tell the time, and custom watchfaces are pretty cool to play with too.

"It's not clear if Wozniak is referring to the older Galaxy Gear models, or the new Android Wear-packing Galaxy Gear Live. With the interview happening last week, my guess is it's an earlier model."

It has to be the Galaxy Gear (probably the 1st gen, since the 2nd gen is just called Gear 2, they dropped the "Galaxy" off the name) since the Gear Live is not for sale yet (July 7th is release date)

The 1st gen Galaxy Gear definitely had problems, which is why it was replaced early on by the Gear 2. I've been rocking a Pebble myself since launch and I'll be upgrading to the Gear Live on Monday (the new AndroidWear OS has gotten really great reviews)

I seem to recall as well that Woz didn't leave Apple on particularly good terms. Steve Jobs was who got all the credit in the media and the world for Apple, but it was the other Steve who did most of the actual engineering, and got precious little acknowledgement from it. Jobs is a household name; Wozniak is a trivia question outside geek circles.

Wiki says he is techincally an employee on a retainer, but has said some pretty harsh things about it overall, and has never hesitated to give an honest opinion in the Apple/Ms and Apple/Android wars. I personally take what he says as good advice, he backs up what he says with good reasons and precious little marketing speak.

They're going to have to infiltrate pop culture a lot more before people start buying cigarettes. Oops, I meant smart watches. Same diff. Minus the health concerns. Probably...

Big_Boss_Mantis:

But does Woz even still work for Apple?

(Agreeing with who I quoted)

If you are a founder of a company you do not work for the company, the company works for you. Unless you go public and get fired like many founders because you believed in the product and the quality of the product represented you but quality doesn't thrill shareholders, profit does. Woz maybe a shareholder but he is not in the board of directors and to him Apple is the past.

As for jobs... If it wasn't for Woz... Job's would be that annoying used car salesman that sells you a lemon. Without Job's we may or may not have Apple today but we possibly could have been far better off having Woz untethered because for him it was never about greed but the love of technology and advancing it, Apple computers was an ends to that means.

@Athinira, I bet he had all those devices hacked/jailbroken.

First generation Galaxy Gear was surprisingly limited, bulky and had a pretty shitty battery life. I'd agree with the worthless assessment. Other than being able to check who's calling/messaging you and changing the song, it didn't do much (and the song changing was incompatible with a lot of 3rd party media players, so you'd barely even have that). The exercise features were insignificant (especially when there are dedicated watches from makers like Suunto that are much more feature-rich when it comes to exercise/outdoorsy stuff), and it didn't really do much more. Camera was shitty and extremely awkward to use.

No idea how the newer generations are though. Though I don't see them catching on any time soon. Heck, I'd rather just get an armband and strap my phone in.

Well, they did advertise the things as "the Dick Tracy watch-phone is finally here!"

Except all they are are Bluetooth accessories for your smartphone. They do nothing by themselves.

Smart watches in general are kind of rubbish. You need two free hands to operate them, for one thing -- or at least one hand and the other wrist. It's objectively a step backwards. Regular wristwatches are only more convenient than pocketwatches or phone clocks because you only ever need to passively look at them, and even then the time and trouble it took to get a pocketwatch out of your pocket and open it was grossly overstated, as a generation of flip-phone owners would eventually realize. About the only thing they have going for them is being virtually impossible to steal.

Oh look. An engineer from Apple dislikes an Android product. Astounding. What an unprecedented historical announcement. Stop the presses. Or don't.

In other news, the CEO of McDonald's thinks Burger King is "not as good".

 

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