Time for a Galaxy smartwatch

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Time for a Galaxy smartwatch

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Left: LG Electronics’ G Pad is a successor to the G Slate and Optimus Pad LTE. Right: LG Electronics’ Galary OLED TV. Provided by the company

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are set to show off their technological prowess with a bunch of new devices, including the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear smartwatch and G Pad 8.3 tablet PC at the upcoming IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin.

Before the annual event that runs Friday through Wednesday, Samsung will showcase its latest inventions today to members of the press from around the world - six months after the world’s top smartphone maker debuted the Galaxy S4 in New York.

The phablet to take the baton from the Note 2 is expected to compete with Apple’s iPhone 5S, expected to debut Sept. 10 alongside the cheaper iPhone 5C.

The 5.5-inch hybrid device that combines the features of a smartphone and tablet PC turned out to be an unexpectedly huge success in Korea, China and other parts of the world.

The third-generation Note 3, according to leaked photos and information, won’t have eye-popping surprise features. It will have a full high-definition (HD) 5.68-inch screen, slightly bigger than its predecessor, while the bezel is thicker and the corners less rounded, sources say.

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch signals Samsung’s efforts to get on the wrists of consumers as smartphones near their saturation point.

Ample rumors and speculation have been circulating in the tech community that the wristwatch running on Google’s Android operating system will have a 2.5-inch display and 4 million megapixel camera and, most importantly, be compatible with other Android devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs via Bluetooth. Sources say the smartwatch will hit market shelves later this year.

For LG, the global exhibition is an opportunity to launch its third challenge in the tablet PC market, which it was rumored to have ditched two years ago.

The G Pad, successor to the G Slate and Optimus Pad LTE, both released in 2011, has an 8.3-inch screen - versus 7.7 inches to 10.1 inches from Samsung - and runs on the Android Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system, LG says. The tablet PC has many features in common with LG’s latest flagship G2 smartphone.

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A leaked photo of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Gear smartwatch. It could be a prototype and not the actual product. Captured image from VentureBeat

“We aim to add the G Pad to the G series, which has been focused on smartphones,” said Park Jong-seok, president and CEO of LG’s Mobile Communications division. “The G series’ global expansion is set to get a boost from the addition.”

Having installed a booth with an area of 8,466 square meters (91,127 square feet), the largest at the fair, Samsung has mobilized 440 large format display (LFD) monitors to create video walls featuring various products and information at corners of the booth to maximize visual impact. LFDs are used for corporate commercials and indoor and outdoor promotions.

They are lighter and more energy efficient than conventional displays, and Samsung is the world’s No. 1 producer of LFDs.

LG has installed a so-called “smart zone,” where it will place a variety of appliances that can be remotely controlled by smartphones such as refrigerators and robot vacuum cleaners, which also recognize voice commands.

To cater to consumers in Europe, where the cost of water and electricity is higher than in other regions, LG will display a washing machine that uses 40 percent less energy than the most efficient models in Europe.

The new washing machine is also eco-friendly, reducing water use by more than 30 liters (7.93 gallons) per wash.

What distinguishes LG consumer goods from others is their focus on an “easy and comfortable lifestyle” for users, the company said.


BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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