Samsung Electronics unveiled its first smartwatch at the IFA expo in Berlin leaping ahead of its main competitors.
The South Korean company’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch works as a “companion” to a Samsung smartphone, allowing users to check their emails, receive texts, listen to music and take pictures. It will go on sale in 149 countries this month priced at $299
The Galaxy Gear, which has a 1.6-inch screen and weighs 2.6 ounces, looks relatively similar to other smartwatches on the market. But it does have some unique features, such as a 1.9 megapixel camera embedded in the strap and a built-in speaker that allows users to conduct hands-free calls.
The device will also come preloaded with more than 60 apps, including a step-counting pedometer and S Voice, a voice-activated app akin to Apple’s Siri.
“Galaxy Gear isn’t just a cool device that complements the Note 3 [smartphone]—I believe it will become a new fashion icon around the world,” J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business, said at the launch event in Berlin.
Market analysts say over five million smartwatches are likely to be sold in the next year but they won’t all be Samsung’s. Sony is launching one and arch rivals Apple are rumoured to working on one too.