Business, Economics and Jobs

Smartwatch wars? Samsung unveils Galaxy Gear


Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch on Wednesday to much fanfare.


Sean Gallup

Samsung has unveiled its first "smartwatch," designed to function as an accessory to its Galaxy mobile phones.

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch was presented at the IFA tech show in Berlin along with two other new products: the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.

Though the Galaxy Gear isn't the first smartwatch, Samsung has beaten most other major mobile makers, including Apple, into what could be a growing market.

The watch is not a smartphone by itself but is instead tethered to the Galaxy smartphone, providing updates for those who don't want to rummage around in their pockets for the device.

More from GlobalPost: Samsung: Fomenting crisis at the world’s largest electronics company

The watch will allow people to check text messages and emails as well as offering a 1.9 megapixel camera. It also boasts features that "augment reality," for example by translating foreign language signs.

“I believe it will become a new fashion icon in the world,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung's co-chief executive and head of mobile business, according to Reuters.

The smartwatch features a 1.63-inch screen and is connected to the Galaxy phone via Bluetooth technology. It can last 25 hours before needing a charge.

Reuters reported that according to Credit Suisse, "smartwatches and other wearable devices could be a $50 billion market by 2017." Sony has already released two smartwatches, while a number of start-up tech companies have the devices either on the market or in the works, the BBC reports

The Galaxy Gear will start at $299.