Samsung wraps its Galaxy Gear around a new product of Note

After a grandiose launch event in Berlin before the start of the IFA trade show two weeks ago, Samsung has today announced local pricing for its new Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and Galaxy Gear smart watch.

Showing off the devices for the first time in Australia, Samsung Electronics Australia vice president of telecommunications Tyler McGee said the “great new products” were the latest feather in the cap for Samsung’s Galaxy mobile division, which has had a “remarkable year” of product launches.

“[These are] some of the most innovative products we’ve ever launched,” he said. “These products represent a combination of cutting-edge R&D, world leading innovation and pioneering design that will offer Australians a completely unique experience for our mobile devices.”

After creating a “new category” with the original Galaxy Note, Samsung was talking up the advances in technology, aesthetics and functionality that it was offering with the new Note 3.

Thinner and lighter than the Note 2 (and a fraction smaller), the Note 3 boosts its predecessor’s screen size, processing power and battery with a 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED, 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and 3,200mAh battery. Compatible with Australian 4G networks, it also offers NFC, Bluetooth and Infrared remote control capabilities, with 32GB of onboard memory, expandable to 64GB.

Citing pre-purchase and post-purchase research conducted by Samsung, McGee said the S Pen stylus was a key selling point on previous iterations of the Note. The stylus stays with the new device, but Samsung has added more multitasking functionality, including an ‘Action Memo’ feature that allows users to write a note and convert that handwriting to text for map navigation, browsing online or adding contacts.

Launched today in conjunction with the Note 3, Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch is being billed as a “companion device” that unlocks more features in the Note and gives users “the ability to create, read and interact with mobile content from their wrist”.

Roughly the size of a chunky sport watch, the Gear is available in six colours, and can be used to make and receive calls, view emails and messages, and even take photos thanks to a 1.9-megapixel camera on the outer side of the watch band. Connection is maintained via Bluetooth, and the Gear can be used to locate its companion smartphone, and vice versa.

At launch, the Galaxy Gear will only be able to pair with the Note 3, but a firmware update due out before Christmas for previously-released devices — including the Galaxy S3, S4 and Note 2 — will expand connectivity options, “making the Galaxy Gear an ideal holiday gift for Australians”.

Beyond talk of Christmas sales, there is a clear retail strategy for the Gear, with the “companion” nature of the product set to be a key selling point for retailers. McGee said retailers had the opportunity to create their own product bundles with the Gear and Note 3, offering the potential for add-on sales.

“Our goal with the Galaxy Gear is to be embraced by a wide range of consumers, from tech-savvy fans to fashionistas, business people, athletes, music fans, young and old.”

Although retailers will miss out on immediate sales for the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear — both products are going on pre-sale from 2pm today in Samsung’s Experience Stores in Sydney and Melbourne — the products will go on sale through retailers and Samsung’s channel partners from 3 October 2013.

The Note 3 will be available for RRP $999 while the Gear will be available for RRP $369. General distribution is yet to be confirmed, but McGee suggested the products would be available from major electrical retailers across the country.

With a more premium leather-look exterior than the previous Note, the Note 3 will be available in Classic White, Blush Pink and Jet Black.

There are six colour variants of the Galaxy Gear. A single model features a rose gold-coloured fascia with white band, while the remaining five feature a brushed steel fascia with coloured bands including Lime Green, Mocha Grey, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige and Jet Black.

When paired, the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear can be used to find their companions by creating an audible tone, even when the phone is on silent.

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