Not all that many Samsung Gear Lives have made it into the hands of users, but already we're seeing reports of the smartwatch's charging mechanism breaking and preventing users from continuing to power the device without resorting to wildly impractical measures. Some disgruntled Google I/O goers have taken to Google+ to share pictures of their damaged hardware.
The user who shared the image above contacted support to arrange for a replacement and came to the conclusion that "Samsung can die in a fire." He was unable to find success through Samsung's site due to an inability to find a "model code" that the website insisted on. Afterwards, he spent time on the phone listening to a recording list menu options before being told no one was available to help. He then contacted Google, who was able to connect him to Samsung successfully. No matter, for his situation hardly improved afterwards.
The samsung operator couldn't understand the problem beyond "watch and charger do not connect" and couldn't understand that I did not have a proof of purchase for the watch (I didn't purchase it! And seeing as it goes on sale tomorrow neither has anyone else!).
Eventually she managed to create a ticket in their system for someone to call me back sometime in the next 48 hours to tell me where to send the watch or something.
She also informed me that I would have to pay a repair cost for the damage done by their design flaw and that the further information that I was going to receive could not be emailed or texted instead."
A different user complained that his Gear Live broke in the same way after only four charging cycles. Another guy shared that his adapter had bit the dust. The Gear Live frankly has one of the worst charging mechanisms we've ever seen.
This is hardly a large sample size, but only the people who received the watch at Google I/O have been able to use one regularly so far, and we have a feeling that the number of reports will only grow as devices start shipping out to consumers this week. The charging mechanism is apparently just plain bad, and unless Samsung improves the design, there's a decent chance a replacement unit wouldn't last much longer than the first.
Update: Here's a picture of how the Gear Live is supposed to charge (along with three other smartwatches). It's the awkward one standing up on the right.