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!
What version of Bluetooth does it have please?
I’d love to see Android replace Tizen by enthusiasts when it’s released.
It’ll never happen.
Not with that attitude.
I like the gold brown colour but I doubt I’ll be purchasing the Gear 2 as I’m not really convince on the benefit of a smart watch yet.
Can’t wait to use this with my S4 Active. OH WAIT NO 4.3 UPDATE YET.
Why would you even buy the active.
Gee, I dunno. Because I work in wet environments? Because I surf? Is that relevant?
So if I purchased it to be ‘cool’ I don’t deserve an update? Or if I purchased it for a specific requirement I do deserve an update? Or is it the other way around?
Dude calm down.
Another major improvement not mentioned in the article is the battery life — it’s now supposed to last at least two days with normal use), in spite of the smaller battery. But the main problem with the Gear IMO has always been a lack of focus — packing in too many features without a clear vision of what the final product is supposed to be. The Gear did a lot of neat things, but didn’t really do any of them in a compelling way. Poor execution with the original Gear didn’t help matters either. But this has always been the… Read more »
I’d love one to go with my Note III. The IR blaster sounds like a great idea. Universal remote apps, to me, are seriously let down by the need to unlock your phone and have the app open. A smartwatch likely wouldn’t be affected as much by that…
What’s interesting but not mentioned above is the inclusion of a heart rate monitor. Finally. I may be interested in purchasing one but not until it’s hacked to run on non Samsung devices… Finally someone combining the fitness bands with a smart watch. Just a pity it’s Samsung. They are building their own walled garden like that other company.
And it’s great they included a version without a camera. Stupid idea putting a camera on a watch.