Barely five months after launching Galaxy Gear, the company’s first wearable device, Samsung today announced its next-generation smartwatches, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo and thus kickstarting the World Mobile Congress. Conspicuous by absence is the Galaxy branding and it is for a good reason as as these device run on Samsung’s Tizen platform.
Talks of Samsung releasing Tizen Smartphones are doing rounds for quiet long time now but the Korean giant chose to test waters with Gear for its new OS. Though running on Tizen, the Gear smartwatches would be compatible with many Galaxy Smartphones.
Samsung says switching to Tizen would help the Gear smartwatch a better battery life, an area which was of much concern in the first edition of Gear. According to the company, the new Gear would have a battery life of 2-3 days, twice the life of Galaxy Gear.
Though the overall design looks pretty much same, there are notable changes made to the Gear in this second outing. Most notable is the camera which is now built into the front of the watch alongside the IR blaster, a shift from the original placement on the wristband. The mic is also moved to the main device. We are not sure if the moving the camera and mic to the main device would not allow swapping of straps with third-party straps like what Pebble allows. The home button is also now seen below the device rather than occupying the side.
The new Gear smartwatches retain the same screen with a 1.63-inch touchscreen and the internals gets a mild changes with a a 1GHz dual-core processor, a light push ahead of the earlier 800MHz, 4GB internal storage, 512MB of RAM, infrared, S Voice, a heart rate sensor, IP67 certification for resistance to water and dust, a 2MP AF camera with 720p video capture (available on Gear 2) and a 300mAh battery.
There are also an array of new apps including from BMW, CNN, Garmin, Line, and Path. The smartwatches also has been enhanced with various exercise modes and heart rate monitor for health freaks. Yet another significant improvement is an inclusion of a standalone music player that can pair with headphone via Bluetooth.
With the design and hardware remaining same, the only difference between the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo is that Gear 2 Neo does not have a camera. Due to the fact, it is also a tad lighter at 55gms compared to 68grams of Gear 2.
There is no word on the pricing but the new Gears are expected to hit the markets in April.