Samsung Galaxy Gear

Improving core functionality of this wearable

Those of you in the U.S. with a Samsung Galaxy Gear are about to receive a good bit of extra functionality with an update hitting this week. We caught a glimpse of this update when it came to European variants, and it seems the same functionality will now be making a wider release. The update is primarily focused on improving rich notification support, which at launch was limited to a handful of Samsung's own first-party apps.

Post update, the Gear will show notifications with more information from "most third party apps," Samsung claims, including Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, Hangouts, Twitter and Foursquare. Not having these notifications give any useful information in the shipping software was quite a shortcoming of the smartwatch, so we're excited to see how the feel of the Galaxy Gear improves.

Beyond notifications, the update will also improve the "Smart Relay" function, which lets the Galaxy Gear do more on its own via your connected smartphone rather than pushing functions for you to handle on the phone itself. Further, the gesture response for lifting your wrist to display the watch face has been tweaked.

Samsung tells us that the update is on its way this week, so if you've made the leap to pick up a Gear and are ready for some improvements, be on the lookout for that update through Gear Manager.


Reader comments

Galaxy Gear update with improved notifications hitting U.S. models this week


I am just wondering why AC is the only site to not have posted about the kit kat updates for galaxy devices? I know it is a leaked document and you can take it with a grain of salt but it isn't like they haven't posted them before

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

This update makes all the difference in the world. I side loaded the British version and can finally sell my Pebble. Before this update, the Gear was a real waste, but full notifications make it a true companion device. In fact, I now prefer it to the Null rom!

Friends is this gear a sell out or a flop? Don't see reviews, don't see people rating it. I see more news of Google glass than this

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There are mixed reviews. Overall Samsung really muffed it up by only releasing it for select phones, and the extremely high price when compared to something like the Pebble was a miss. Plus it is clunky (why there's a camera on the watch is beyond me).

That's my opinion, right now I'm waiting it out for a solid smart watch. Holding out for the second generation Pebble, which probably isn't due for a bit.

Totally agree

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

The pebble is garbage compared to the galaxy gear. Come on give the gear a break. You know what, compare them for urself. Keep in mind the updates that samsung has in store for the gear. Specs wise.... The galaxy gear is far better.

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I don't know. The Pebble's notifications are just as good if not better than the Gear even with the new updates. And, with PebbleTasker you can execute commands from you watch through your phone. Pretty slick. Also the Pebble watch face is always on and last 5 or more days. There are definitely benefits to the Pebble. I'm going to try this Gear for a couple more days but I may exchange back for the Pebble. I think people get easily swayed by those nice screens.

But yeah, get rid of the camera and speaker in the watch band. Put them in the watch face or get rid of the camera at least. Then being able to have any watchband is a major plus.

I really enjoy mine. When I'm home I never wear it. I use it mostly at work. When I'm on my sales floor it helps me see if the text/call is important or if I can wait to reply.
I do wish it had a keyboard, or pre-written responses. As I can't use s-voice while on the floor.
As far as the price it's w/e to me. I feel like it's well built, looks nice and definitely is packed with tech. I've spent $300 on watches that just tell time before so that's how I justify this purchase. (at least to my wife, lol)
Battery is great, for me. I read a lot on here about people complaining about it and I try to wrap my head around what they are doing to cause such poor results. Mine last easily 3-4 days. (short day for me is 8hrs, long day:13 hrs) But I still come home and just place it in its cradle.
So basically, I love mine and it's obviously getting better.

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I'm with you here. I don't understand the battery life complaints at all. In fact, I have stopped traveling with my cradle (I am a flight attendant, and i'm required to have a watch as part of my uniform). I have gone almost a full 3 days without charging it, that includes carrying on a phone conversation for about 45 minutes using my Gear. Now, it DOES drain my Note 3 much faster than I would like... running all the great functions of a powerhouse phone AND keeping bluetooth on all the time tends to drain it pretty quickly.

I thought about returning mine for a Pebble, but this update changed my mind.

The Gear with this update has now taken a great leap forward, now to release a variant without that pointless camera and at a sensible price point and hey presto-a smartwatch that more would buy :-)

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I really like it. I had the Sony SmartWatch 2... I thought it was the watch for me until I found out the gear could take photos/record videos and record memos. These are the most important functions for me. People who say the camera is pointless are people who don´t have to constantly remember things and items and take memos all the time - being a international business man and having to jot down notes - it is far easier to record them with video or voice... I give the GALAXY GEAR 9/10 - the firmware update still has not arrived for me - I have tried through the phone app and through the samsung app - everything is up to date(is what it says)... ALSO HAVING NO CALCULATOR ????!?!?! WHAT IS THAT??!?!! IF YOU CAN JAM PACK A DIALER INTO THE PHONE WHY NOT A CALCULATOR - OH I FORGOT - AZNS DON´T NEED THEM... THAT EXPLAINS IT????

Sub $200 and compatible with other Android phones and I may try it.

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Agree although i dont disagree with samsung keeping it to the Galaxy range so a bit of mix there or contradiction hmmm lol what i mean by agree is that by opening it up to all android would gather more interest, and what i mean by i dont dissagree with Samsung is that they want to make it theirs and then attract more people to samsung devices. They messed up at launch keeping it locked to the Note 3 and now realisation has hit.

Now would be the right time to release a variant-one with that update pre installed, without the camera and at a lower price point and i honestly think it would then sell in much larger numbers. And perhaps open it up to android and watch the Gear sell.

The battery is not a big deal aslong as it can handle a full days use eg from point of average wake up 08:00 until 23:00 as charging it overnight is not a huge issue as i take my watch off anyway.

It is the most stylish of em all :-)

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I flashed with Odin this UK update to the Gear 2 weeks ago and it is flawless. Any app that you can get notifications will show in the Gear menu for you to select and come through the Gear. Gmail amongst other will show in the Gear with the subject and you can go in the Gear and read the text in the message. Also, it appears that they have tweaked the battery software as now I can go 2 full days before charging.

Keep the updates coming Samsung, I like what you are doing here. A suggestion to Samsung is to drop the price the $199 and make it work with any android phone with xx software version and they will sell over a million of them.

Now, if they can let us somehow link via phone to app store and download any app we want in the Gear. I would like to see Google Music and a video player in the Gear. I currently have songs and video in the Gear since I sideloaded apps but, every time I get an update, they get erased and I have to re upload them.

Ian B

I get notifications on my phone every several minutes and it can get pretty tiring always having to pull my Note II out of my tight pockets.

So I'll definitely be getting the Gear as soon as the 4.3 Update gets pushed to my Sprint Note II, which should be very soon.

The stupidest thing samsung did was release the product unfinished and without this update. It doesn't matter if it's good now, many people have already judge the device as a bad device as that's what it was.

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I disagree. I really like mine as is, and knew going in what the product's initial limitations might be. With the limitations being almost all software related, I knew it would be easy for them to improve with software updates.

Timing is everything in a new product release. If they had waited any longer, they wouldn't have the momentum needed for holiday sales.

To me, pricing is another decision you make on whether or the not the cost is worth it to you as an individual. I believe it is. As with most products in the marketplace, the watch price may drop over time. I actually got mine on eBay for $250 to my door.

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Has anyone in the US seen the update yet? I know others have sidelloaded it, just curious about the USA update. The week is almost half way over ;-)

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I agree with you. When I bought mine with my note 3 I knew what I was getting software wise. I bought it because the hardware specs were top of the line and I knew they would fix the software issues.

As for battery I get 2 to 3 days between charges. For the quality of the build and materials, I think it is priced right. If you look at the other ones out there, they are cheap plastic and cheap screens.

I use mine for my blue tooth hands free device in car, so right there didn't have to spend 80 bucks on earpiece. The build quality is outstanding and people comment all the time on how nice of a looking watch it is.

The only thing I am not a fan of is the camera just because it gets in the way when typing on computer.

I'm in Canada and no update yet here

Posted using svoice on galaxy Gear

Since my S4 got 4.3 yesterday, I'm looking to hopefully get thevgesr in the next few weeks. I can't wait!

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I installed the most recent update and it broke my email notifications. Now they just say "open on device" where they used to show me a preview of content. This update REMOVED functionality, not added anything. This is terrible!

When the update does come, I wonder if I should bother. Currently running the UK firmware.

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Just wondering if anyone has received this update yet. By the way HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL AND UR FAMILY'S.

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Today is our day..... Fingers crossed. ;-). Now how I really feel... COME THE HELL ON SAMSUNG!!! :-)

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Wonder why it's been delayed? Any insiders on here that can update this information?

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Fuckin joke Samsung.. Come on with the damn update. Help me realize why I spent $300 on this device.

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Yeah c'mon Samsung. ... The Qualcomm toq comes with text templates out of the box. I ordered one.. :-) once it arrives I may just be taking this GG back to BB!

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I'm very happy with mine also, its allot better flipping your wrist for a second to see who calling or (When it gets updated) a quick look at if you have a message worth the look. I also use mine on the manufacturing floor and it save me a bunch of time not pulling out my phone. I also do not know what the big complaint is about the battery, I get a full day +. I haven't tried to see how long I can go without a recharge because I just plug it in at night (No biggie). I travel 48 weeks out of the year and keeping track of my travel (Tripit) is awesome.

As compared to the Pebble, the Pebble is a very nice functional device but is boring to look at. The main reason I took my Pebble back it because the screen is SOOOO small. For those of us who need glasses it not very useful in that arena. No I am not blind LOL, I only were reading glasses 1.5 strength, but its still to small of a screen for me. The Gear colors pop, easy to read, better functionality. I guess its all amounts to opinions and there are plenty on here. If it works for you, go for it, if not then try something else. I'm looking forward to the update…..

No update as of yet here in Houston, TX

I wish the author of the article would go back to the source where he got this information, and try to find out why there is no update yet. Silence on this issue only leads to speculation, and emotional outbursts ;)

We all know how patient us gadget geeks

This is some BS..UPDATE STILL NOT OUT MY GEAR IS BASICALLY just a watch!!! STUPID, paid 300 dollars with the promise of notifications working seamlessly......guess what nothing works as advertised. :( GRR super frustrated right now.

This update broke ALL notifications. I checked the settings, mail, facebook etc... all checked, last notifications I got were before the update.

Thanks Samsung, update worked great, now one of the reasons for owning the watch is gone. I have tried unchecking them, the re-checking them, rebooting, powering off, re-pairing.... notifications no longer work...