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Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is not backwards-compatible

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Electronics manufacturer Samsung released and unveiled their new flagship Galaxy device at a media briefing in Cape Town, South Africa yesterday.

Craige Fleischer, Samsung’s Director for Mobile Communications in South Africa (image: Charlie Fripp)
Craige Fleischer, Samsung’s Director for Mobile Communications in South Africa (image: Charlie Fripp)

“The new Galaxy Note 3 is not just a mobile device, it is offering to be a lifestyle device. Today, 65% of internet traffic is through a mobile device, and there is definitely an appetite for mobile consumption. This was shown to us when we sold 23-million Galaxy Note 2 devices worldwide last year,” said Samsung’s Dr. Michelle Potgieter during the media event.

The Galaxy Note 3 and the new Galaxy Gear watch will be made available in South Africa today (Friday), while the device is already available in Ghana. “Ghana will be one day ahead of South Africa, and we had great success with the pre-order campaign. The device has been made available in Ghana from Thursday, and the Galaxy Gear will be made available in the next 10 days,” said Robert Ngeru, regional manager for East and West Africa.

Samsung also added that the device will be made available to a larger amount of people, and that it will go on sale in Kenya on Monday, while also having a great response to their pre-order campaign.

During the press conference the issue of region-locking the device was brought up by members of the media, after which Samsung confirmed that it won’t be region-locked. “There has been discussions on region-locking, but the African product won’t be region-locked and registered on the operator on which you procured it,” said George Ferreira, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Samsung Africa.

The Galaxy Note 3 will retail for $900, while the Galaxy Gear companion watch will retail for $460, and to justify the cost, Samsung said that they are using the best technology available to their users, which inevitably will push up the price.

“Regarding media questions about justifying the cost of the device, it is brand new technology, and it is about bringing the best technology and screens to our users. We put the best technology available to us into the device. Regarding the $460 price tag for a companion device that only lasts 25-hours, it’s our first step in this path, so it will get better,” explained Craige Fleischer, Samsung’s Director for Mobile Communications in South Africa.

Taking a stab at competitor Apple’s newly launched iPhone 5s, Fleisher added that customers don’t want to see incremental product and that Samsung believes in delivering new products to their users every time.

In terms of connectivity, the Galaxy Note 3 will be available in both 3G and LTE versions, with both versions launching at the same time. Initially it will sold in two colours: black and white, while the Blush Pink will be launched in the near future.

The Galaxy Gear, on the other hand, will be made available in a variety of colours, but there is a bit of a snag. The wearable technology device will only be compatible with the Note 3, and while Samsung has plans to make it backwards-compatible at some stage, users of the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 will have to wait a bit longer.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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