Update: Samsung just issued a statement saying 800,000 units have been sold.
Entering a new product category is hard. Just ask Amazon about the first generation Kindle. Apple about the first generation iPad. And Sony/Samsung/LG about the first 4K television. But how bad can bad get? Well, according to a report from BusinessKorea, sales of the Samsung’s first wearable device, the Galaxy Gear, have yet to pass the 50,000 unit mark. And no, that’s not just for Korea, that’s for the entire world.
Why is this product, which Samsung markets as the future, failing so hard?
There are quite a few reasons, but I’ll focus on the main three. First, there’s the price. It’s $299, which is an incredible investment to make for something that’s not tested, especially something that’s supposed to be worn as a fashion accessory. Second, the limited compatibility. You need to own a Samsung phone running Android 4.3 or higher to use the Gear. That’s an incredibly short list of devices. And finally third, it’s simply a bad product.
Every review of the Gear has said the same thing: Battery life is terrible. The notifications are useless. The camera makes the watch look ugly. Just go buy a Pebble if you really want a smartwatch.
Can Samsung turn things around? Yes, in the two obvious ways that any tech company fixes anything. Step One: Slash the price of the Gear, because while it may be a poor product at $299, it’ll be a hit at $99. Step Two: Launch a successor as soon as possible. Some rumors say we’ll see a Gear II as soon as CES, which is less than two months away!