Samsung has officially kicked off things for Mobile World Congress – and caught a number of us off-guard of a weekend – with the official announcement of the successor to 2013′s Galaxy Gear, in two flavours.
Samsung’s christening the devices Gear 2 and while you might think it’s strange that the word “Galaxy” is missing, there’s a simple reason why – Samsung’s abandoned Android on the watches and instead opted for its own Tizen operating system. The company hasn’t stated the reason behind the switch, but has stated that the Gear 2 will support a “numerous” amount of devices. Again no list of officially supported devices so we are left to see if, anything, the smart watches will work with their Galaxy Android powered smartphones.
The Gear 2 will be available in a standard and Neo version. Both will have exactly the same internals:
- 1.63-inch touchscreen
- 1GHz dual-core processor (a bump up from the Galaxy Gear’s 800MHz)
- 4GB internal storage
- 512MB of RAM
- S Voice
- Heart rate sensor
- IR blaster
- IP67 certification for resistance to water and dust
- 300mAh battery
The Gear 2 has a 2MP autofocus camera capable of 720p video capture, while the Neo won’t support this feature.
Gear 2 Neo
It seems Samsung is still fond of that searing bright orange of the original Galaxy Gear, and will offer the Gear 2 in three colours – Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange. The Neo will come in slightly more toned-down Brown, Mocha Grey and plain (presumably tamed) Orange.
The devices look like a distinct improvement over the aesthetics of the original. From what we can tell both from the press release and from official photos, the camera is now built into the front of the watch alongside the IR blaster, replacing the “wart” as it came to be known on the original Galaxy Gear on the wristband. Another change is the microphone’s new position – formerly on the clasp of the strap, now also the body of the device itself.
These changes will allow users to change the wristband – addressing a huge complaint against the original Gear – but it’s not known whether or not the device will be compatible with standard 22mm straps (like Pebble), or whether if it’s a different spec. Either way, we’re sure Samsung will sell their own wristbands.
Device compatibility seems disappointingly unchanged. Samsung says it will work with “dozens” of their own devices, with no word on whether or not other manufacturers can play with Samsung’s new hardware. We’re not holding our breath.
We haven’t seen any Australian PR about the Gear 2 yet, so local pricing and a release date remain unknown. We’ll let you know when we get them.
Are you interested in the Gear 2? Do you own the original? Tell us your thoughts on either in the comments!