BARCELONA: KOREAN HARDWARE MAKER Samsung unveiled the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Sunday, and as rumours had suggested, the devices shun Android in favour of Tizen.
The Galaxy Gear 2 offers a number of improvements on the original Samsung Galaxy Gear. The first of these is Tizen, with Samsung dumping Google's Android mobile operating system in favour of its own open. This should, according to the firm, make the devices nipper than the original model. This shift also sees Samsung dumping the Galaxy branding for its second generation smartwatches.
However, it appears that the smartwatches will still need to hookup to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone in order to work, with the firm saying it will be compatible with more than 12 handsets at launch. We're assumng one of these will be the Samsung Galaxy S5, which is expected to debut at MWC on Monday.
Beyond software, the built-in 2MP camera now sits above the display, rather than on the strap of the device, which Samsung claims makes the device sleeker and more discreet than before. The Samsung Gear 2 Neo doesn't have a camera, suggesting it will be offered as a more affordable version.
Samsung has also added fitness sensors to both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, including a heart rate monitor, pedometer, gyroscope and accelerometer, and sensors for tracking sleep and stress levels. Both watches also come with IP57 certification, which means they are resistant against dust and water.
These features arrive amid talk that Apple's mooted iWatch will focus on fitness, with the firm set to debut some health focused features in iOS 8 this year.
The new models retain the original Galaxy Gear's 1.63in 320x320 resolutioin AMOLED display and 512MB of RAM, although they have seen a bump in the processor department with a dual-core 1GHz chip under the bonnet as opposed to the original Gear's 800MHz processor. They also come with an IrLED, which means that you can use the watch to control your television, if you so desire.
There has been a downgrade in the battery however, with the second generation Gear devices featuring a 300mAh battery, compared to 315mAh previously. However, Samsung claims the two new watches will last longer than the original, promising two to three days of battery life.
Both the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available from April this year, but there's no word on pricing yet.
Check back soon for our hands-on first impressions with the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches. µ