"Based on the features announced today, it appears that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch is a prototype masquerading as a commercial product – and because of that, it is unlikely to be successful in the market," said Ian Fogg, director for mobile and telecoms at IHS.
"The device exhibits multiple shortcomings, including a high price tag, a short battery life, its status as a companion device and its limited compatibility. The bottom line is the Galaxy Gear smartwatch probably will not succeed in the market and Samsung will need to try again with a more refined product."
The Galaxy Gear debuted earlier today at the IFA show in Berlin. It will sell for $299 (a price Fogg notes is more expensive than most smartphones and many tablets) when it’s released later this month.
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More excited by Qualcomm's Toq and future devices
But it actually wasn’t all doom and gloom from IHS.
The company gave a guarded thumbs up to Qualcomm’s new Toq smartwatch, also introduced today. Where Galaxy Gear works with a limited number of Samsung devices, Toq works with a range of Android devices and the company is considering adding iOS to the mix.
IHS gives Qualcomm credit for the inclusion of a sunlight readable display and smartphone power saving techniques that minimize the number of times a user turns on the display for many common tasks.
“The Toq appears to be a compelling and easy-to-use product, which is causing a great deal of excitement among developers,” said Francis Sideco, director for consumer electronics and communications technologies at IHS.
“However, the key for Qualcomm is whether it can leverage these features to achieve large-scale adoption. Cost will be the critical factor here—and since Qualcomm has not provided any pricing guidance, it’s unclear whether the product will hit a price point that will be appealing to consumers.”
Toq is set to be available later next month. The industry is also waiting to see if and when Apple will release its much-rumored iWatch device.