Samsung has announced the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches running Tizen OS rather than the usual Android operating system.
Not only has Samsung abandoned Android for its latest smartwatch, just six months after the release of the original Samsung Galaxy Gear, but the company has dropped the Galaxy moniker for its wrist-worn wearable altogether.
Samsung has yet to detail why it is making the switch to Tizen for its Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, or how compatibility with Android devices will function. All it has said so far is that the smartwatch duo will be compatible with “more than dozens” of Samsung Galaxy smartphones at launch.
Both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo feature a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a 320 x 320p resolution running on a 1GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM.
The smartwatches offer 4GB of internal storage and the battery life claims to have been improved to 2-3 days or up to 6 days with low use.
With the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo offering a very similar features list to the original Galaxy Gear, it's what's new that is most interesting. Both new models feature a heart rate sensor, pedometer, exercise monitoring and modes for tracking your “sleep and stress”.
Strangely there's still no mention of in-built GPS, despite listing location-tagging for your images.
There is Bluetooth 4.0 LE and an irLED sensor though, with both new watches capable of acting as a standalone music player that can output to wireless headphones using Bluetooth.
“Samsung continues to lead innovation in the wearable market by creating devices that are completely integrated into the lives of consumers through extended connectivity features, stylish customisation options and a robust application ecosystem,” said JK Shin, Samsung CEO and President of IT and Mobile Division. “With the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, we have enhanced everything consumers love about the Gear to offer unparalleled smart freedom in their everyday life.”
The difference between the two 2014 smartwatch models is that the Gear 2 features a 2-megapixel camera that has been relocated to just above the watchface.
There's no camera whatsoever in the Gear 2 Neo but this has fascilitated Samsung being able to offer interchangeable watch straps for the first time. The Gear 2 Neo is also slightly lighter than the Gear 2, but both models have been made marginally lighter and thinner than the original model.
Although Samsung has yet to reveal pricing for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, both will be available in April. We hope that the Neo will be slightly cheaper than its Gear 2 sibling, but we'll keep you posted as of any updates.
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