Now that Samsung has finally announced the Galaxy Gear, you've probably made up your mind on whether it's beautiful or hideous. What you probably don't have a great grasp of is what apps will be available on the smartphone, and how they'll work. We had a brief preview of Pocket for Galaxy Gear yesterday; it offers a complimentary experience to the Android app, effectively functioning as a remote control for the phone version. You can ask your phone to read an article aloud to you, favorite articles, or archive them, and that's about it. Other Gear apps are a little more ambitious.
Facebook and Twitter haven't announced any plans to make Gear apps — although you'll of course be able to view notifications from the regular Android apps on the watch. The "private social network" Path, however, is pledging to support the Gear at launch. It's perhaps the most fully functional app we've heard of: in addition to rich notifications, the app lets you share photos, locations, and give feedback on other posts straight from the watch.
eBay is also a launch partner. The app will allow you to browse your notifications from My eBay, place new bids, and check on the progress of auctions. If you want to dig into a particular item or read its description, you'll have to pull out your phone, as they'll open in the eBay Android app instead of on the watch. It's a limited experience, but there's definitely a use-case for quickly checking up on auctions for last minute bids.
RunKeeper, which already has apps for Android and iOS, will turn your Galaxy Gear into a fitness tracker. Although RunKeeper hasn't yet detailed the interface, it has revealed the functionality the app will offer. After syncing with a compatible phone, the Gear app "displays your time, place, and distance continuously on your wrist, as well as the content of RunKeeper audio cues." Useful? Yes, but it has to be pointed out that the functionality is almost identical to the RunKeeper app offered for the Pebble smartwatch.
RunKeeper is basically bringing its Pebble app to the Gear
Samsung says there'll be over 70 apps available for the Gear, with more on the way, but the names of most of those apps haven't been revealed just yet. There's the popular life organizer Evernote, which is yet to detail the functionality of its Gear app. In its press release, Samsung says the app will make it "easy to remember things by quickly capturing images and memories and bringing important reminders right to Galaxy Gear." If the app is limited to image capture — the Galaxy Gear has a pair of microphones built in — Evernote fans will likely be disappointed.
There's still a lot we don't know
Other apps include the popular Asian messaging service Line; Atooma, a kind of IFTTT for your phone; MyFitnessPal, which will compete with RunKeeper for fitness app supremacy; Tripit, a travel app; Vivino Wine Scanner, which lets you take a picture of a wine bottle with your watch and see information about it; Banjo, an app that shows "live photos from your favorite music, sports and breaking news events as they happen;" and, finally, Glimpse, a location-sharing app. We've also heard unverified reports that Snapchat could be making its way to the Gear in time for launch. We'll hopefully get the chance to check out some of these apps, and discover as-yet unannounced apps, for ourselves before Samsung's Galaxy Gear launches in the US this October.