Don’t judge the Galaxy Gear too harshly, even if it does lack that something special.
It’s more like an unripe vegetable than an epic flop (though more on that later), according to David Eun, EVP and head of the Open Innovation Center at Samsung.
"When you’re dealing with innovation and you’re dealing with start ups, I always make the analogy to small green tomatoes," Eun said during a Business Insider Ignition conference sit-down. "What we’re dealing with is small green tomatoes. What we want to do is take care of them and work with them so they can become big red ripe tomatoes."
"You want to make sure 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 that big, red ripe tomato," he continued.
"There can be that tendency, especially in larger companies … when you see a start up, and you say, ‘Hey, it’s just me and five other folks and we’ve been working really hard X number of months and this is what we’re doing.’ And they’re thinking, ‘Well this isn’t quite Gmail, is it?’ And of course not, it’s a small green tomato."
A big green flop?
Eun may have confidence in the Gear, but a report out of Korea has the smartwatch falling flat on its digital face.
Business Korea reported that the Gear’s cumulative sales are under 50,000, with daily sales stuck in the 800-900 range. It’s way below industry expectations, and its limited initial device support and $299/£299 (about AU$325) price tag have been pinned as reasons for its poor showing.
Last month, a leaked internal document from Best Buy int he US indicated that over 30% of the Samsung smartwatches it sold were returned.
Eun, who wasn’t asked about sales figures nor addressed them in his Ignition appearance, likely wouldn’t be too downtrodden from the Business Korea report.
"I feel in the same way [the Galaxy Gear], for what it is, is a 1.0 device," he said. "Personally, I don’t think enough people gave us the credit for innovating and getting it out there. It’s not easy to integrate all this function in there.
"Over time this thing is going to get big and red … and this is a big opportunity not just for us but for other companies that are going to create the hardware for this, but especially for software and services companies."
- Apple has probably taken plenty of notice of the Galaxy Gear for its own iWatch.