Samsung is trying again with the Gear 2, the second generation of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. And while Samsung is frequently accused of copying the every move of it primary competitor Apple, when it comes to wearable technology it’s been Samsung who has tested the waters first while Apple has sat back and merely watched. The Gear 2 picks up where the first Gear left off, and tries to take things a step further by allowing it to be used without the need to wirelessly tether it to a Galaxy smartphone. But the Gear 2 is still a long way away from being a polished enough product to become a mainstream hit. And that may be why Apple is still sitting back and observing.
Apple typically debuts a new product like the iPhone or iPad, and then has to watch Samsung quickly slap together a hardware knockoff. The resulting lawsuits take years, and while Apple nearly always wins, the legal action takes so long that the copycat products have been replaced with new copycats by the time the bans are put into effect. But when it comes to smartwatches, Samsung has no one to copy. Instead it’s left to taking guesses on what the public will want, and as a result neither the Gear nor the Gear 2 has come close to connecting with what the public wants in a product. This has all come as Apple has sat back and offered no guidance on its plans.
Is this a case of Apple allowing Samsung to try first, so it can learn what doesn’t work? The Galaxy Gear 2 will flop about as swiftly as the Gear 1 did, and if Apple’s iWatch ends up becoming a hit and propelling smartwatches into the mainstream, Samsung’s current failures could ultimately end up poisoning its ability to get the public interested in the Gear down the road.