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Samsung hits back at reports claiming it’s only sold 50,000 Galaxy Gear units

Samsung on Tuesday hit back at claims made a day earlier that it has so far only sold 50,000 Galaxy Gear smartwatches, saying the figure is actually 800,000. That’s a big difference.

On Monday night a bunch of news outlets were reporting that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear was selling not like hot cakes but more like old, moldy ones, with daily sales of between just 800 and 900 units.

The original report came from Business Korea, which received its information from “related industry sources”. It’s not clear if Business Korea’s source was hopelessly wrong or whether it was simply referring to sales in South Korea, though most news outlets reported the figure in terms of global sales.

Whatever happened, the mess has motivated Samsung for the first time to offer some information as to how its smartwatch is doing in the market, telling Reuters that the wrist-based computer isn’t selling so badly after all.

Lukewarm reviews

The Gear received a lukewarm reception when it hit the market at the end of September, with many reviewers frustrated by its lack of features, poor battery life, and lack of apps.

Its hefty $299 price tag, and the fact that it can currently only be paired with a few Samsung handsets, also came as a disappointment.

Worryingly for Samsung, a report at the end of last month claimed the Gear had a return rate at Best Buy that was “above 30 percent,” though there was no specific information on why shoppers were taking the device back.

A mobile device industry associate told Korea Business that the Gear is “more of a test than revolutionary,” adding that consumers are waiting for the second iteration of the watch, which many observers believe will launch in 2014.

Apple and Google?

Next year could also see the launch of similar devices from other big hitters in the tech industry, including Apple and Google. Apple’s so-called iWatch, for example, is thought to be well into development, though it may not hit stores until the second half of next year.

Reports a few months back suggested the Cupertino company was grappling with design issues and consequently was hiring new talent to overcome the problems. Google’s smartwatch, meanwhile, could land in the next few months, with reports in October claiming the device would launch “sooner rather than later.”

As for Samsung, its Gear may, on the whole, be a bit of a let down, but the company can take the hit. The big question is, can it come up with something decent second time around?

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