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    • By Alex
      Samsung was one of the first major smartphone makers to jump on the smartwatch ship, and, unsurprisingly, its first smartwatch didn’t use Google’s nascent Android Wear back then. It struck off on its own with a customized version of Android running inside the Samsung Galaxy Gear. It has come full circle and has returned to Android again, this time with Wear OS running on the upcoming Galaxy Watch 4 series. Surprisingly, there might still be some owners of the Galaxy Gear around, and Samsung is now urging them to switch to its Tizen OS if they want access to some smartwatch apps.
      The Galaxy Gear launched way back in 2013 and was the only one of its kind, so it’s rather surprising to hear that Samsung still has the smartwatch and its users in mind eight years after. Even more surprising is that Samsung was actually still running a version of its app store specifically for that Android-based OS after all this time. Samsung is shutting that down next month, however, but it hasn’t abandoned owners of the smartwatch just yet (another surprise).
      Samsung actually gave Galaxy Gear owners a way forward back in 2014 when it was clear that it wasn’t going to stick to its own Android smartwatch OS. Back then, it offered an update to its new Tizen-based wearable platform, the very same OS that would take Samsung’s smartwatches to relative success for a couple of years. Apparently, not everyone took the opportunity back then, but Samsung is now pretty much forcing their hand.
      An update to the Samsung Galaxy Store notifies owners of the smartwatch that it will be shutting down the Galaxy Store for Galaxy Gear devices on August 5, 2021. While the smartwatch will continue to function, users won’t be able to install or reinstall apps after that date. They can upgrade to Tizen moving forward if they want access to apps, but it’s a one-way street and there’s no turning back. Moreover, not all Galaxy Gear apps will be available on Tizen, but there might be similar ones by now.
      It is rather impressive that Samsung has apparently managed to support a relatively obscure 2013 smartwatch for this long. Unfortunately, the same story can’t be said for more recent Tizen-based smartwatches that may be blocked from upgrading to the new Samsung-branded Wear OS. Whether that’s because of hardware requirements or some arbitrary policy from Google remains a mystery.
      Source: https://www.slashgear.com/galaxy-gear-owners-must-upgrade-to-tizen-or-lose-galaxy-store-access-05681014/
    • By STF News
      Start Date Oct 15, 2020
      Location Online
      It's a pleasure to announce that the inaugural get together of the Bluetooth® Developer Meetup will take place on October 15th 2020. Everyone is welcome to this on-line event (no registration required).
      Attendees will enjoy talks from a range of experienced Bluetooth developers from Google, Samsung, Foundries.IO and Bluetooth SIG. Together, they will share their knowledge and tell their stories of working with everybody's favourite low power wireless communication technology.
      Watch this page, the @BluetoothSIG Twitter account and accounts of speakers such as @bluetooth_mdw for updates. The URL for joining the event will be published here in due course.
      More information here
      Schedule
      Date: 15th October 2020.
      London : 17:30 - 20:00 UK time (UTC+1)
      Texas : 11:30 - 14:00 CDT (UTC-5)
      San Francisco : 09:30 - 12:00 (UTC - 7)
      Agenda
      Each talk will be approximately 30 minutes in length and include time for Q&A via a text-based system.
      Lessons Learned with using Bluetooth Low Energy in Wearables
      Speaker: Jacky Cheung, Google
      The cost of integrating Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) into consumer electronics has dropped significantly over the years. With all the promising features introduced in Bluetooth 5.X, Bluetooth LE has become the de-facto connectivity solution for wearables.
      This talk will present lessons learned with using Bluetooth Low Energy in wearable projects. It highlights some of the key design considerations and offers some practical tips to balance between speed and power consumption, which are particularly important for wearable devices.
      Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) OTA: or how I learned to stop worrying about spiders, snakes, hornets while building IoT devices on the Tech Farm
      Speakers: Thea and Marc Aldrich, Foundries IO
      Building and deploying embedded devices in the real world isn’t as glamorous as the corporate demos would lead you to believe. A few years ago we set out to build a simple cow tracking and happiness device. Since then things have escalated. And what have we learned? It gets hot, it rains, there is a whole lot of walking and, to be honest, the cows don't ever seem to fully appreciate the effort. Then there are the spiders, snakes and hornets. We all know this story ends in pain. But does it?
      In this presentation we’ll take you through the intensely scientific process of designing, building and deploying the latest version of our low cost, wirelessly connected farm automation and cow tracking system running Foundries.io’s Linux microPlatform (LmP) and Zephyr OS. All devices are now updateable over-the-air thanks to FoundriesFactory’s OTA functionality and OTA-DFU updates over Bluetooth LE from the Nordic NRF52840 based Reel Boards. No animals - other than humans - were harmed in the course of this project.
      The Love story between the Web and Bluetooth
      Speaker: Kevin Picchi, Samsung
      Kevin Picchi is a Software Engineer and Developer advocate at Samsung Internet, based in London.
      He’s passionate about web technologies, emerging tech, and enjoy sharing his knowledge.
      Contact him over LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/kevinpicchi
      The Web has been around before I was even born, since its creation the Web has grown bigger, always evolves and gets blessed with new capabilities. The capability that brings me here today is Web Bluetooth.
      Just imagine controlling a drone through a web page without even having to download a native app, not having to update it, a quick refresh of the page and done.
      Well this is possible since the integration a few years since the integration of Web Bluetooth in most browsers.
      In this talk we are going to take a look how the relationship between Web and Bluetooth work. How it can make a difference and how to setup a basic communication between a web page and a Bluetooth device.
      Advanced Bluetooth Technology - Under the APIs
      Speaker: Martin Woolley, Bluetooth SIG
      Bluetooth technology has changed enormously since its initial release about twenty years ago. Communication can now take place over distances in excess of a kilometre. It’s twice as fast as it used to be and connectionless communication through broadcasting data to an unlimited number of receivers has become extremely versatile and powerful. Oh and did you know, you can also create secure networks of tens of thousands of smart devices using Bluetooth technology?
      All of these advanced capabilities are there for developers to exploit. By examining subjects like data rates, range and reliability, this talk will provide a guided tour of the most interesting and advanced aspects of Bluetooth technology and how they work, under the APIs.
      View the full blog at its source
    • By STF News
      Start Date Oct 15, 2020
      Location Online
      It's a pleasure to announce that the inaugural get together of the Bluetooth® Developer Meetup will take place on October 15th 2020. Everyone is welcome to this on-line event (no registration required).
      Attendees will enjoy talks from a range of experienced Bluetooth developers from Google, Samsung, Foundries.IO and Bluetooth SIG. Together, they will share their knowledge and tell their stories of working with everybody's favourite low power wireless communication technology.
      Watch this page, the @BluetoothSIG Twitter account and accounts of speakers such as @bluetooth_mdw for updates. The URL for joining the event will be published here in due course.
      More information here
      Schedule
      Date: 15th October 2020.
      London : 17:30 - 20:00 UK time (UTC+1)
      Texas : 11:30 - 14:00 CDT (UTC-5)
      San Francisco : 09:30 - 12:00 (UTC - 7)
      Agenda
      Each talk will be approximately 30 minutes in length and include time for Q&A via a text-based system.
      Lessons Learned with using Bluetooth Low Energy in Wearables
      Speaker: Jacky Cheung, Google
      The cost of integrating Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) into consumer electronics has dropped significantly over the years. With all the promising features introduced in Bluetooth 5.X, Bluetooth LE has become the de-facto connectivity solution for wearables.
      This talk will present lessons learned with using Bluetooth Low Energy in wearable projects. It highlights some of the key design considerations and offers some practical tips to balance between speed and power consumption, which are particularly important for wearable devices.
      Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) OTA: or how I learned to stop worrying about spiders, snakes, hornets while building IoT devices on the Tech Farm
      Speakers: Thea and Marc Aldrich, Foundries IO
      Building and deploying embedded devices in the real world isn’t as glamorous as the corporate demos would lead you to believe. A few years ago we set out to build a simple cow tracking and happiness device. Since then things have escalated. And what have we learned? It gets hot, it rains, there is a whole lot of walking and, to be honest, the cows don't ever seem to fully appreciate the effort. Then there are the spiders, snakes and hornets. We all know this story ends in pain. But does it?
      In this presentation we’ll take you through the intensely scientific process of designing, building and deploying the latest version of our low cost, wirelessly connected farm automation and cow tracking system running Foundries.io’s Linux microPlatform (LmP) and Zephyr OS. All devices are now updateable over-the-air thanks to FoundriesFactory’s OTA functionality and OTA-DFU updates over Bluetooth LE from the Nordic NRF52840 based Reel Boards. No animals - other than humans - were harmed in the course of this project.
      The Love story between the Web and Bluetooth
      Speaker: Kevin Picchi, Samsung
      Kevin Picchi is a Software Engineer and Developer advocate at Samsung Internet, based in London.
      He’s passionate about web technologies, emerging tech, and enjoy sharing his knowledge.
      Contact him over LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/kevinpicchi
      The Web has been around before I was even born, since its creation the Web has grown bigger, always evolves and gets blessed with new capabilities. The capability that brings me here today is Web Bluetooth.
      Just imagine controlling a drone through a web page without even having to download a native app, not having to update it, a quick refresh of the page and done.
      Well this is possible since the integration a few years since the integration of Web Bluetooth in most browsers.
      In this talk we are going to take a look how the relationship between Web and Bluetooth work. How it can make a difference and how to setup a basic communication between a web page and a Bluetooth device.
      Advanced Bluetooth Technology - Under the APIs
      Speaker: Martin Woolley, Bluetooth SIG
      Bluetooth technology has changed enormously since its initial release about twenty years ago. Communication can now take place over distances in excess of a kilometre. It’s twice as fast as it used to be and connectionless communication through broadcasting data to an unlimited number of receivers has become extremely versatile and powerful. Oh and did you know, you can also create secure networks of tens of thousands of smart devices using Bluetooth technology?
      All of these advanced capabilities are there for developers to exploit. By examining subjects like data rates, range and reliability, this talk will provide a guided tour of the most interesting and advanced aspects of Bluetooth technology and how they work, under the APIs.
      View the full blog at its source
    • By STF News
      Since the release of Galaxy Watch Designer 1.7, the Gear S2 watch is no longer supported. This has caused many apps to be rejected by the review team when publishing to the Galaxy Store.
      When uploading your watch face app to Seller Office you must now deselect all S2 devices within the Supported Devices. After uploading your binary file, the S2 devices can either be deselected individually from the list of 1,300+ device combinations, or selected all at once by following the steps below:
      Click the red number next to Selected Device(s) to open the Detailed Device Settings dialog box. This number represents the selected Samsung devices that your app will be compatible with.
      Type Gear S2 in the search field to list all of the selected S2 devices.
      Uncheck Select All within the Device Group to deselect all S2 devices.
      Click Save.
      Click OK to close the WPC Notice.
      Click the Save button prior to submitting your app.
      Now that the S2 devices are no longer selected, the red number that represents the compatible devices is reduced by approximately 300.

      If your app was rejected due to Gear S2 device incompatibility and you still have questions, feel free to search the Galaxy Watch Designer Forum or send an email to [email protected]
      View the full blog at its source
    • By Alex
      We once looked on wearables as the future, but now that they’re actually here, we haven’t been quite as enthused. Things started off well with various smartwatches from a variety of OEMs, but one-by-one those companies are either pulling out of the smartwatch market temporarily, shifting focus to other platforms or form factors, or closing their doors entirely. However, there is still hope.
      We’ve long recommended Google’s Android Wear as one of the best wearable platforms, but sometimes it’s easy to forget it’s not the only one, nor is it for everyone. I’m here to tell you that Samsung’s Tizen has quietly grown into a fantastic option. Last year we saw it make a splash with the unique Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic, but this year, we have the Gear S3 and, spoiler alert, it’s fantastic…
      THE HARDWARE |
      Just like on the Gear S2, Samsung has thankfully opted for a circular display on the Gear S3, and it has a fantastic design overall. Also like its predecessor, it comes in two models, the Gear S3 Frontier and the Gear S3 Classic.
      Frontier or Classic?
      I spent my time with the Gear S3 Frontier and personally speaking, it’s exactly what I love in a watch. It looks rugged, yet a little fancy at the same time. The charcoal color and subtle grooves along the bezel give this the look of a classic watch.
      However, if you’re looking for something a bit classier, the Gear S3 Classic is the better bet. It has a polished stainless steel design which also looks wonderful, and even better, it ships with a leather band instead of the silicone one the Frontier comes with.
      Regardless, the build on both of these smartwatches is nothing short of excellent. The stainless steel body is hefty and feels durable, all while looking like a premium device.

      Size & Thickness
      However, both variants of the Gear S3 have two aspects that not everyone will love — they are both thick and big. These aren’t outrageously large devices, but compared to the Gear S2 or most Android Wear devices, they are fairly big. If you have small wrists, this may not be the watch for you. But beyond that, I found the thickness to be of even bigger concern. It was tough to fit the watch under a shirt cuff or even a jacket, and the LTE variants would be even worse.

      That Bezel (And Buttons Too)
      The big story with the Gear S3, of course, is the bezel. Compared to other smartwatches, this is where Samsung’s options stand out. The rotating bezel on the Gear S3 provides an excellent experience when it comes to navigation, offering an intuitive and tactile way to interact with the software on your device. You can still interact with the touch screen to control most of the experience, but the addition of the bezel and two buttons make the experience that much better.

      Band
      As for the band, the Gear S3 Frontier comes with a thick silicone band which is black and has a slight texture to the outside. It looks good and feels pretty decent as well, but it’s not a premium band by any measurement. I wouldn’t really hesitate to toss a leather or metal band on this watch. Luckily, that’s pretty easy with the standard 22mm size and quick release latch.
      THE SOFTWARE |
      As for its software, the Gear S3 comes with Samsung’s in-house Tizen operating system. Despite that, it works with almost any Android powered smartphone, and believe it or not, Samsung has done an absolutely fantastic job crafting this wearable OS.
      This Just Makes Sense
      The Gear S3 has a circular display, but it’s not the only wearable to have one. Many Android Wear devices also use circular display, but they’re never felt truly optimized for that form factor. The Gear S3, on the other hand, has software that makes sense. There’s certainly a lot different about Tizen compared to Android Wear or Pebble, so there’s a definite learning curve. However, everything on this watch makes sense.

      From the watchface, there are a few actions to get to various areas of the interface. Rotating the bezel (or swiping) to the left reveals your notifications in the order they arrived. A swipe up on that notification removes it from the carousel and tapping it reveals the full text as well as several actions such as “open on phone.” Going to the right, you’ll find various customizable widgets. On my Gear S3 I have widgets such as weather, steps, calories burned, heart rate monitor, calendar, music controls, and more.
      To go back, you hit the top button. Once back on the watchface, there are two other actions available. The first is the app drawer. From here you can view all of your apps in a customizable order. Navigating the apps is as simple as rotating the bezel to select the app of your choice and tapping the name to open the app. The other action from the homescreen is long-pressing the top button. This opens Samsung Pay, which we’ll get to in a moment.
      Another small note I need to make on the software is about the input methods. Not only do you have voice replies, but there are also canned messages, emojis, drawing replies, and even a full keyboard (or a T9). It all works well and really comes in handy at times.
      Samsung Pay
      Samsung Pay is easily the standout feature of the Gear S3. Just like on recent Samsung smartphones, Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 is a mobile payments service which matches Google’s Android Pay and Apple’s Apple Pay systems beat for beat with full NFC compatibility. However, Samsung Pay’s big advantage is using MST technology to “trick” standard card readers into thinking you’re using a standard card. The tech is ridiculously cool, and easily a selling point for the device, but it’s not alwaysreliable.
      Following the setup process, which can be a pain depending on your bank, I used Samsung Pay on Gear S3 about 5 times over the course of a few days. During that time, I only got it to work 3 times. What was the issue? I’m not entirely sure. The card reader recognized the watch each and every time, MST or NFC, but in certain stores, it would be declined. From what I can tell, this was an issue related to my bank as many other Gear S3 users report much better success rates on their devices.

      Best of all, though, Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 works on any Android smartphone — not just Samsung devices. Last year’s Gear S2 packs the same Samsung Pay functionality, but there it’s limited to Samsung smartphones. Needless to say, this is a massive selling point for the watch, at least in my opinion.
      The Setup Process
      Another thing worth noting on the Gear S3 is the setup process. If you’ve got a Samsung smartphone, you won’t have any issues here as all of the needed components are built into the OS. However, if you’re like me and have this connected to another Android device, in my case the Pixel XL, you’ll need to install all of those components. That’s expected for any wearable, but on the Gear S3, it requires far more apps.
      During setup I actually lost count of how many apps the watch needed to function. You’ll start with the Gear Manager which will prompt the installation of 3-4 other apps from the Play Store. During the setup process, the app will also download a couple of apps, including Samsung Pay, directly through the Gear Manager app rather than the Play Store. Luckily most of these apps won’t appear in your app drawer, but it’s certainly annoying to have to install so many apps just to use your watch. Samsung really needs to consolidate this.

      The App Gap is Real
      The Gear S3’s software is great, but there’s a definite app gap on the Tizen platform compared to Android Wear or even the now-defunct Pebble. Many of the most popular apps aren’t supported yet, the watchface selection is pretty minimal and won’t suit everyone’s tastes, and exploring Samsung’s app store isn’t a great experience. It’s pretty difficult to find some apps, and it’s even worse when you’re looking for watchfaces. I found myself mainly sticking to Samsung’s built-in watchfaces on the Gear S3.
      However, that’s not to say things aren’t improving. Tizen is slowly adopting new wearable apps, like Spotify, which will help the experience on the Gear S3 as a whole. Some well-known Android Wear watchfaces are also making their way over, such as Facer.

      Reliability & Performance
      Another area the Gear S3 shines in is where reliability and performance are concerned. Never while I was wearing this watch did I have issues with the connection to my smartphone, nor did I miss any notifications due to the software — only due to the vibrations being a tad light.
      Performance on the Gear S3 is also stellar. Never on this watch did I notice dips in performance, even when playing some of the games available for it or while using third-party apps. I’ve never had good luck with watches like this, especially on Android Wear, where things would lag and stutter constantly, so I was very pleased with Samsung’s efforts.
      Health Features
      Already, the Gear S3 wears many hats. It’s a smartwatch, a mobile payments system, and if you’ve got the LTE version, a full-fledged smartphone. However, it’s also a fitness tracker if you want it to be — and it’s a very good one.

      The Gear S3 is absolutely packed with outdoor sensors and health features. The S Health suite enables the ability to track things such as calories burned, steps taken, floors climbed, specific workouts (such as a walk, run, or 14 other types of workouts), heart rate, and water/caffeine intake. It’s a generous suite, and everything works relatively well. I’m not someone who works out a ton, but I do take walks or quick runs from time to time, and the Gear S3 made it super easy to keep tabs on how far I’d gone and how many calories I had burned. The watch also has “nudges” that will remind you if you haven’t been active for a while.
      BATTERY LIFE |
      As for battery life, the Gear S3 goes a little above and beyond compared to other smartwatches. Samsung claims a ridiculous 4 days on a charge, but for the most part, I found myself getting about 2 days on a single charge. That’s with notifications coming in pretty regularly and the always-on display turned on. With that feature turned off, I could squeeze a little under 3 days out of the watch.
      Charging
      When it comes to charging, Samsung has yet again opted for wireless charging with an included magnetic dock. It works great, the dock allows you to use the watch as a bedside clock, and charging is pretty quick too. Unfortunately, Samsung has changed something in the Gear S3 to where standard wireless charging pads don’t work as they did on the S2. That’s unfortunate because it means you’ll be required to bring the included charger, or a spare, with you on trips.

      FINAL THOUGHTS
      When it comes down to it, the Gear S3 is a fantastic smartwatch, and there aren’t strings attached to that. Sure, it’s a little big, but if you can handle a semi-large watch, you’ll love the Gear S3. The software is excellent, the hardware is wonderful, and this watch has just about anything and everything you’d want from a wearable. It has a ton of roles to fill, but it fills each and everyone one of them nearly perfectly.

      Greatness Comes at a Price
      However, this fantastic smartwatch comes with a pretty hefty price tag. You’ll be paying $349 for either the Classic or the Frontier, and more if you grab an LTE version (outside of subsidies or payment plans). That LTE version is available from carriers, but also requires a $5-$10 data plan alongside it. The $349 Bluetooth version, though, is well within the range of most other premium smartwatches, it’s just not the bargain some others may be. Whether or not you’re willing to pay for that is up to you, but I certainly plan to…
      Source: https://9to5google.com/2016/12/30/samsung-gear-s3-review/
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