In the beginning, computers were the size of buildings. To use one, you walked into it. Over the decades, they grew small enough to sit on a desk, then to carry in a briefcase, then to keep in your pocket. And now we’re entering the age of computers so small we wear them like jewellery.
Just what kind of jewellery, however, has yet to be decided. Will we wear our computers on our foreheads, as with Google Glass? Or will we wear them on our wrists, as with the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch ($300)?
Apple’s iWatch is only a rumour. But Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watch is here now. It’s ambitious, impressive, even amazing. But it won’t be adorning the wrists of the masses any time soon.
One big reason: It’s really only half a computer. It requires the assistance of a compatible Samsung phone or tablet; without one, the watch is pretty much worthless. And right now, only two gadgets are compatible: the Galaxy Note 3 (an enormous phone with the footprint of a box of movie-theater Raisinets) or Samsung’s new 10.1-inch Galaxy tablet.
By Thanksgiving, Samsung says, it hopes to make its popular Galaxy S4 phone compatible , too; after that, the older Note 2 and S3. But the Gear watch will never work with devices from rival companies; Samsung is trying to create an Apple-like ecosystem of Samsung gadgets that work smoothly — and exclusively — together.