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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Pranav Mistry: Indian techie who took centre stage at Galaxy Gear launch

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Berlin, September 05, 2013
First Published: 22:11 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 08:57 IST(6/9/2013)

A 32-year-old computer scientist from Gujarat was the talk of technology town when Samsung launched the quirky Galaxy Gear smartwatch and phablets Note 3 and Note 10.1 at an event in Berlin late on Wednesday.

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Pranav Mistry, who heads the Think Tank Team at Samsung and has earlier worked for Microsoft, said the Samsung smartwatch was packed with technologies from the next decade.

After Samsung's head of mobile communications, JK Shin, introduced the Gear by pretending to receive a text message, Mistry walked on to the stage to a loud reception and curious eyes.

"With the Gear, you're able to make calls and receive calls without ever taking your phone out of your pocket," Pranav Mistry, a member of Samsung's design team, said.

The watch has a rubbery wristband in which a small 1.9-megapixel camera is embedded. Its display surface has stainless steel bezels with four visible screws in each corner.


Pranav Mistry, head of Think Tank Team Samsung Research America presents Galaxy Gear smartwatch at the IFA electronics trade fair in Berlin. (AFP Photo)

The watch is activated by pressing a button on the outer right side of the display or aiming the wristband lens at an object. A gentle swipe downward quickly turns on the camera, a feature Samsung calls the "Memographer."

"This is a feature that changes the way we interact, the way we express and the way we capture," Mistry said.

JK Shin, head of Samsung Mobile Communications, presents three new products including the Samsung Galaxy Gear in Berlin. (AP Photo)

From the home screen, swiping upward brings up a number pad where a user can make a call. Because a gyroscope and accelerometer detect the Gear's movement, a user can answer calls by lifting his wrist to his ear.

"We have uniquely positioned the speakers and microphones so you can talk as you would on a regular phone," Mistry said.

JK Shin, head of Samsung Mobile Communications, presents the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Berlin. (AP Photo)

The Gear is set to be released worldwide next month, although neither Shin nor Mistry gave a date. Also under wraps was the cost, something many believe could be a determining factor in whether the next-generation technology hits home with consumers who have historically been reluctant to adopt such "wearables of tomorrow," as Mistry called the Gear.

Mistry's involvement with the Samsung launch could well be pointing to a trend - one wherein Indians are increasingly becoming integral to conception and development of devices across the world.


Pranav Mistry, Head of Think Tank Team Samsung Research America presents Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Note 3 cell phone at the IFA electronics trade fair in Berlin. (AFP Photo)

Recently, when BlackBerry launched its make-or-break BB10, a 29-year-old Indian, Vivek Bhardwaj, had been the face of the makeover programme. Bhardwaj is the head of BlackBerry's software portfolio that made an attempt to revolutionise the platform for the latest devices - BB Q10 and Z10.

Another man of Indian-origin, Sundar Pichai, was recently in the middle of the action when he was named the head of Google's Android division. The 40-year-old IIT alumnus replaced Andy Rubin, the man behind the success of Google's Android division.

Nikesh Arora, Google's highest-paid employee in 2012, is evidence to support the trend too. Once a student at the Banaras Hindu University, Arora received $46.7 million in total compensation in 2012 as the business head at the Internet and mobile devices giant.

(With inputs from AP)

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