While we wait for Apple to release its highly anticipated iWatch, Samsung has already announced the second generation of its Gear smartwatch, just six months after it announced the first version.
Samsung announced two variants of the second-generation Gear — the Gear 2 and the camera-less Gear 2 Neo. Interestingly, both the Gear 2 variants run Tizen, rather than Android, which powered the first generation Gear. This is probably why Samsung dropped the “Galaxy” branding from this edition of the Gear.
Tizen is an open-source Linux powered operating system backed by Samsung and Intel, that aims to break the iOS and Android duopoly in the mobile market. Samsung’s NX300M smart camera was the first device to run on Tizen, and the Gear 2 paves the way for what Samsung calls the “Tizen based wearable platform.”
It remains to be seen what plans Samsung has for Tizen. Will it be used just for wearable devices like the Gear, or also be used in smartphones? Samsung has found it hard to differentiate Galaxy smartphones from other Android phones, and it recently signed an agreement with Google which prevented the company from replicating core Google apps in Galaxy devices. Tizen could give the Korean company the flexibility to customise the user interface.
The Gear 2 smartwatches feature a sleeker, lightweight design, an improved battery life of 2-3 days, a faster 1GHz dual-core processor, a standalone music player with a Bluetooth headset and the camera has been moved from the strap to the main body.
The Gear 2, at 68 gms, and the Gear 2 Neo, at 55 gms, are lighter than the original Galaxy Gear (73.8 gms), and they’re thinner too, at 10mm vs. 11.1mm.
The Super AMOLED display on the Gear 2, measures 1.63-inch with a 320-by-320 pixels resolution, like the previous generation Gear. It can accept or ignore calls, messages, and also monitor heart-rate, and your movement activity.
The Gear 2 has 4GB of internal memory, 512MB RAM, 2-megapixel camera (not included in the Neo), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and an IrLED sensor that will help control other electronic devices such as TVs and set-top boxes through the WatchON Remote app.
The Gear 2 smartwatches will go on sale in April this year. The Gear 2 will be available in black, brown and orange, and the Gear 2 Neo will come in black, gray and orange colors. While Samsung hasn’t revealed pricing information, the camera-less Gear 2 Neo will cost less than the Gear 2.
What do you think about the Gear 2? Let us know in the comments below.