Samsung unpacks a smartwatch and the Galaxy Note 3

Last year, electronics giant Samsung Electronics took Manhattan when it launched the Samsung S4 smartphone in New York City. And on Wednesday, it took Berlin.

Samsung used the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) conference to launch the Galaxy Note 3 mini-tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, and the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. It also announced commercial availability for consumers of Samsung Knox, its bring your own device (BYOD) inspired security solution designed to firewall personal and corporate data on a device.

Samsung led off with the Galaxy Note 3, with enhanced S Pen. It has a wider 5.7” full HD Super AMOLED display than its predecessor, but is slimmer and lighter at 8.3mm and 168g. It features a 4,2000mAh battery, a 13 megapixel rear camera, and an LTE model is available. It will run Android Jelly Bean 4.3 and is powered by 3GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

“We introduced the original Galaxy Note in 2011 and launched a whole new smart device category. The undeniable success of the Galaxy Note strengthened our conviction that consumers want higher quality features for smart devices and they want those new features to make their lives better,” said JK Shin, CEO and president of IT & mobile division at Samsung Electronics, in a statement. “Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a powerful, original approach that enables users to tell the stories of their lives through dynamic and seamless expressions of their passions across work, play and life experiences.

Canadian availability for the Galaxy Note 3 is scheduled for later this year from Mobilicity, MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Videotron and Wind Mobile.

With an eye to rival Apple, said to be working on an iWatch, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Gear. Calling it a “companion device” rather than a smartwatch – although it totally looks like a watch – the Gear has a 1.63” SuperAMOLED 420 by 320 resolution touchscreen, with a 1.9 megapixel camera, twin microphones, and a speaker. It’s 11.1 mm thick, weighs 73.8 grams, and is powered by an 8000 Mhz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. There’s also an accelerometer, and Bluetooth for connecting to supported peripherals.

Connecting to your Samsung smartphone, it will notify you of incoming messages, allow you to make hands-free calls, and take pictures from your wrist. And, of course, tell the time. The Gear should be available in Canada later this year.

Samsung Galaxy Gear
Samsung Galaxy Gear

“Samsung Galaxy Gear benefits consumers by integrating smart device technology even deeper into their everyday lives, and bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology,” said Shin. “Samsung Galaxy Gear frees users from the need to constantly check their smart devices while maintaining connections.”

On the tablet front, Samsung’s updated Galaxy Note 10.1 has a 10” WQXGA display with 2560×1600 resolution. It’s powered by a 1.9 GHZ OCta Core processor and 3GB RAM, running Android jelly Bean 4.3. In addition to an enhanced S-Pen, Samsung is touting “exclusive content” for Galaxy users, from sources such as the New York Times and Bloomberg. The Wi-Fi edition will be available in Canada later this year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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