After teasing it first at its Unpacked 2015 media event in mid-August, Samsung today officially announced its new smartwatch, the Gear S2.
The new smartwatch, for which Samsung isn’t yet revealing a release date or pricing, will only be available to those carrying one of Samsung’s own smartphones, though it hasn’t yet confirmed which handsets will be supported. If the past is any indication, and it usually is in these things, then Samsung will likely limit Gear S2 support to only its most recent smartphones, which is no good for those carrying older hardware. Still, such is life!
As for the watch itself, it is Tizen OS-powered (Yup, not Android Wear, just like the original Gear S), has a 1.2-inch circular face, features a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels, will come with a wireless charging dock and is surrounded by a rotating bezel that seems to offer similar functionally to the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown.
The device will come in three flavors, with the standard Gear s2 available in either a dark gray case with a gray band or in silver with a white band. The Gear S2 Classic aims at adding a touch of class to the lineup, and will come in black with a leather band. Both will feature hardware Back and Home buttons for navigation.
Gear S2 Classic
The third variant is called Gear S2 3G, it is basically same as the standard Gear S2 but with cellular 3G connectivity option. Which means you can pop-in a SIM card and use it for making phone calls etc.
Samsung has also included NFC for payments, likely to be used for Samsung Pay, though information on just how that will work is currently hard to come by. That’s not the most worrying thing here, though, because Samsung’s Gear S2 won’t have access to the Android Wear apps that are being worked on by developers. Currently, that means that apps are few and far between for the Tizen-based Gear S2. Samsung’s own apps look like they are up to the job though, with the usual array of messaging and fitness-based solutions on hand should they be needed. Like the Apple Watch, the Gear S2 will even remind you to get moving if you’re having a particularly sedentary day.
Until we know pricing and availability details for the Samsung Gear S2, there isn’t a whole lot more to say, but the lack of apps does worry us somewhat. Time will tell whether that’s a legitimate concern, though the Gear S2 will be able to handle Samsung apps and the obligatory notifications just fine right out of the box.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more information as Samsung starts to share it.
Update x1: Samsung has now confirmed at IFA today that Gear S2 will work with just about any Android phone and not just Samsung phones.
Update x2: In Europe, the prices will be €349 ($389) for the Gear S2 and €399 ($445) for Gear S2 Classic.
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