Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3 get prices, release dates on T-Mobile

September 6, 2013

Itching to get your hands — er, wrist — on a Galaxy Gear smartwatch? If so, you don’t have long to wait.

T-Mobile announced Thursday that the smartwatch, as well as the only phone it can be paired with at the moment, will hit stores Oct. 2. The Galaxy Gear will cost $299.99, but consumers should remember that to get the watch to work to its fullest, they’ll also have to pick up a Galaxy Note 3. On T-Mobile, the Galaxy Note 3 costs $199 down, with 24 additional monthly payments of $21.

No matter how you slice it, it’s a pretty hefty investment, though one that people may pay to be on the cutting edge.

The price may prove the biggest obstacle to the Galaxy Gear’s ability to pick up users, since consumers may be unwilling to pick up an accessory that costs as much as a subsidized version of a smartphone.

But that doesn’t mean that wearables are dead in the water. The price of such devices is likely to come down over time, in the same way the price of tablets did, according to Brian Proffitt, an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business.

“The first tablets . . . were kind of pricey, but others came along at lower price points,” he noted, saying that he expects wearables to follow a similar pattern.

He also thinks that future generations of wearable devices could add a lot of additional features by hooking into multiple gadgets beyond the smartphone. Consumers are increasingly able to control devices and services — such as connection to the lights in your home or your thermostat — through their smartphones. Being able to do that from something you’re wearing may be the next step, he said.

Plus, Proffitt added, the inclusion of near-field communications chips in devices such as the Galaxy Gear also opens up the possibility of letting people pay for things from their wearable gadgets.

“If someone can come up with a secure payments app for these things,” Proffitt said, it could drive up adoption of electronic payments through gadgets — a trend that has yet to really catch on with smartphones.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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