Samsung's rush-to-market-to-beat-Apple Galaxy Gear smartwatch has launched with a resounding thud. BusinessKorea reported that Samsung has sold fewer than 50,000 units since it was released in September despite a multimillion dollar marketing campaign.
For its part, Samsung wants the world to know that how many Galaxy Gears it sold isn't nearly as important as the fact that it beat Apple to market, because that's what it means to innovate. MacRumors noted comments from Samsung executive vice president David Eun during BusinessInsider's Ignition conference that seem to be defensive comments about the low sales:
When you're dealing with innovation and when you're dealing with startups, I always make the analogy to small green tomatoes. [...] And what you want to be sure is that you don't pluck the green tomato too early and you want to make sure you don’t criticize a small green tomato for not being a big red ripe tomato. [...] Personally, I don't think enough people gave us the credit for innovating and getting it out there.
OK, fair enough. How about we criticize the Galaxy Gear for being a large, ungainly, and ugly device with limited functionality that Samsung should be embarrassed about having released?
Samsung's Galaxy Gear
The Galaxy Gear is proof that when you design and release a product for the sole reason of being first to market, rather than because it's the right product with the right features at the right price for consumers, you get a dud. No amount of fruit metaphors will change that, and as I noted when Samsung announced this product, the company should stick to seeing what Apple does first so it can copy.
To that end, unnamed mobile device industry associates told BusinessKorea that, "These Samsung products are more of a test than revolutionary. Customers and producers have more interest in Samsung’s next models for release next year."
I'm pretty sure I see a silent and parenthetical "after Apple shows Samsung how to do it correctly," but maybe that's just me.
Also of note is that the Galaxy Round, Samsung's curved phablet that shipped earlier in November, is currently selling fewer than 100 units per day in South Korea, the only market where it was released. All told, it's sold fewer than 10,000 units and is being discontinued.
Another unnamed "industry representative" told BusinessKorea, "The Galaxy Round has a thick center because Samsung has not been able to mass produce curved batteries, and its display is not perfect with additional tempered glass, making the product thick and heavy. It shows no advantages of a flexible smartphone except its grip, which is being used as its only marketing point.'
Remember, though, that what really matters is that Samsung beat Apple to market with a curved device.