Who needs a Galaxy Gear or any other smartwatch?

Watch this space as electronics companies queue up to compete for a smartwatch that can link you to the web and run apps.

Samsung is first out of the blocks with the Galaxy Gear, a small gadget that comes with different coloured wrist bands.

The Galaxy Gear goes on sale from September 25. The US price is $300.

The device has a 4cm LED display, a 1.9 megapixel camera, a speaker and microphone, four gigabytes of internal storage and a non-removable battery.

However, the smartwatch is not as smart as most consumers would like, as it only works as a remote extension of other nearby Samsung Android-based devices.

Not so smartwatches

The majority of apps seem to involve different ways of telling the time and tracking fitness.

Sony is about to bring out a similar device that works across any Android phone or tablet. The cost is around £120.

Apple is rumoured to be about to release a smartwatch in time for Christmas and Microsoft is looking to get in on the act as well.

The problem harps back to the good old, bad old days of competition in the electronics industry when VHS battled Beta videos in the 1970s and 1980s.

The rivalry has hobbled the industry ever since as manufacturers vie to develop their own ‘ecosystems’ where they want consumers to play in their gardens but put up walls to stop other electronics firms from encroaching on their space.

So instead of a broad choice of devices working across a common operating system, consumers have to opt for Android, Windows or Apple and bridge applications that sit between them to make them work together.

Expensive fashion icon

Smaller players are also looking for a cut of the smartwatch market.

Omate, a technology start-up, is bringing out a watch in October that includes a 3G chip, so the device is a standalone phone, while electronics firm Qualcomm has a product launch around the same time.

The Qualcomm device will link to Android phones and cost around £190.

For many, the question that remains is what is the market for a smartwatch?

Some like the idea of the watch as a fashion icon, but you can buy a decent amount of gold or silver for $300 that will still have a value in 10 year’s time.

As a computing device, writing emails or sending texts seems to be hard work on such a small screen.

Older customers with eyesight problems and mainly men, with larger fingers, will also have problems operating the interface.

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