Samsung's latest smart watch is hitting shelves today, but it's not Android Wear. Samsung is forging ahead with its Tizen-based Gear line with the Gear S2. This is Samsung's first round smart watch with a full circle display (none of that flat tire nonsense). Listings are still hard to come by, but expect the Gear S2 to pop up throughout the day. In addition the the US, the Gear S2 is launching in Germany, Singapore, and Korea.
Samsung was early to the recent smartwatch craze, but its products haven't exactly sold like gangbusters. While Samsung has made an Android Wear watch, it seems more interested in moving forward with its Tizen-based Gear platform, and the new Gear SDK offers a lot of detail about that next device. It'll be round, but that's not the only thing we know.
The watch will have a 1.18-inch round display with a resolution of 360x360. That's not very large, but the overall device will probably be much less ridiculous as a result. Samsung is planning to use a metal frame with a large crown button that makes the device look more like a real watch.
Samsung is sending an update out to all the owners of its new wearables in the US. Surely there are some of them, right? So yes, that Gear 2, Gear2 Neo, or Gear Fit on your wrist is about to get slightly better. I mean, it's still a Gear, but you know.
There are more than a couple Gears to choose from these days, but not that long ago, there was only one. That awkward piece of tech is more affordable now, though it still hasn't dropped down to the price many people would like to pay for it. That makes now a good time to pay some attention to Best Buy. Today the retailer has refurbished versions of the original Galaxy Gear going for just $89.99, a price that's on the better side of $100.
Though Samsung has new models in the field, it hasn't forgotten about the smartwatch that got the ball rolling. The Galaxy Gear received an update that switched it from Android to Tizen starting at the end of May.
We had a good run didn't we? It's the beginning of the end now that Samsung has started pushing Tizen as an alternative to Android. The newly announced Samsung Z is a powerful smartphone that runs an updated version of Samsung's open source Tizen OS. Oh, why didn't we listen to all the scaremongering posts that went up after the Gear 2 was announced? WHYYYYY?
We knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any less weird to me. Samsung is now rolling out an update to the original Galaxy Gear that effectively removes Android, replacing it with the company's self-built mobile OS, Tizen (which is what the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit are all running). This immediately raises one question in my mind: since "Galaxy" is Samsung's branding for Android devices, will it just be called "Gear" moving forward? Something to ponder on your Friday morning.
But I digress, there's a good chance this is a smart move. Android simply isn't ready for wearables (in its current state, anyway).
The Galaxy Gear didn't jumpstart Samsung's wearable ecosystem as it had hoped. In fact, it was such a disappointment that the company released a new version alongside the Galaxy S5 just a few months later. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo run Tizen instead of Android, but there was rampant speculation that the original Gear would be moved to Tizen eventually. Apparently that's close to happening, and SamMobile got some hands-on time with Tizen on the Galaxy Gear.
As Samsung continues to forge ahead with its own wearable plans, the Korean OEM is faced with a problem – apps. To encourage developers to start using its Gear 2 Tizen SDK, Samsung will be running an App Challenge starting May 8th. Cash prizes will total $1.25 million, and the first place winner will get $100,000.
I've got a Gear 2 Fit review unit here, and I have to say, that curved OLED display is downright striking. This may be the most fashionable... thing Samsung's ever produced. How useful is it? Well, you'll have to wait for our review on that one.
The Gears seem almost destined to let down hardcore Android users, though, because just as Samsung was gearing up to launch its new smartwatches, Google went and announced Android Wear.
When Samsung announced the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo last month, the news came with the confirmation that the company was dropping Android from both devices. Instead, both smart watches are powered by Tizen. This may not mean all that much for consumers in the short term, but it does impact developers. For you, Samsung has just shared the first version of the Tizen SDK aimed at wearables. This is what you need to grab if you intend to build apps for the company's two intelligent wristwatches.
Samsung has versions of the SDK available for Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu.