Galaxy Gear ‘flop’ helps Samsung grab 71% of smartwatch market

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Having sold half a million Galaxy Gear smartwatches already this year, Samsung has claimed a whopping 71 percent of the global smartwatch market. The South Korean company’s wearables, often branded a “flop” by critics, are taking advantage of the lack of competition to gain an early lead over incoming rivals.

This year’s Galaxy Gear lineup, announced at Mobile World Congress back in February, is much-improved over last year’s model. In addition to a new Tizen operating system, the Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo boast changeable straps, a water-resistant design, infrared blasters and heartbeat sensors.

Samsung also offers the Gear Fit now. Aimed at fitness fanatics, it’s Samsung’s answer to devices like the Fitbit Flex and the Nike FuelBand. It’s ideal for those who don’t need everything the other Gear devices offer, but do want to track their workouts and sleep patterns.

The improvements Samsung has made to these devices certainly seems to be paying off. The company sold 1 million Gears in 2013, and it has already reached half of that this year after just 5 months, securing 71% of the global smartwatch market for 2014. That figure could drop later this year, though.

The Galaxy Gear lineup has stiff competition on the way. In addition to new Android Wear devices from LG and Motorola, there’s a long-awaited iWatch from Apple still to come, and possibly a new offering from HTC. However, Samsung hopes to counter these with an Android Wear Galaxy Gear of its own later this year.

There’s good news for original Galaxy Gear owners, too. Samsung is planning to release a major new update that will bring the Gear 2’s Tizen operating system to its predecessor. We’ve already seen in a video demo; we’re just (impatiently) waiting for Samsung to release it now.