Samsung released the Galaxy Gear a few short months ago, but the company has just made its second-generation smartwatches official. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo have dropped more than the Galaxy branding – these devices aren't running Android at all. Samsung has made the jump to Tizen for its wearables.
The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo look very similar with the new physical home buttons, but the latter lacks a camera sensor. The Neo looks like it has a plastic housing, whereas the Gear 2 is brushed metal. That makes the Neo a bit lighter (55g vs 68g) and also hopefully cheaper. The Neo will come in different colors than the Gear 2 as well. Here are the full specs from Samsung.
- Display: 1.63” Super AMOLED (320 x 320)
- CPU: 1.0 GHz Dual Core Processor
- OS: Tizen based wearable platform
- Camera: Gear 2 – 2.0 Megapixel Auto Focus (1920x1080, 1080x1080, 1280x960); Gear 2 Neo – N/A
- Video: Codec: H.264, H.263, Format: 3GP, MP4, HD(720p, @30fps) Playback & Recording
- Audio: Codec: MP3/AAC/AMR/Vorbis, Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG
- Fitness Features: Heart Rate sensor, Pedometer, Exercise (Standalone Modes: Running, Walking – Companion Modes: Cycling, Hiking), Sleep & Stress
- Music Player with Bluetooth Headset and Speaker
- WatchON Remote: Remote Controller via IrLED Sensor
- Basic Features: Bluetooth Call, Camera, Notification(SMS, E-mail, Apps)
Media Controller, Schedule, Smart Relay, S Voice, Stopwatch, Timer, Weather
- More Features (Downloadable): Calculator, ChatON, Flashlight, Quick Settings, Voice Memo
- Changeable Strap
- Color Options: Gear 2 : Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange – Gear 2 Neo : Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange
- IP67 Certified Dust and Water Resistant, Noise Cancellation
- Connectivity: Bluetooth v4.0 LE, IrLED
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate
- Memory: RAM: 512MB
- Storage: 4GB Internal Memory
- Dimensions: Gear 2 – 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm, 68g; Gear 2 Neo – 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm, 55g
- Battery: Li-ion 300mAh
- Typical Usage 2~3 days, Low Usage up to 6 days
Samsung didn't elaborate on the reason for switching to Tizen, but it's probably a question of battery life. A smartwatch simply needs to add value to the smartphone experience – it doesn't have to run Android itself to be useful. Sony's smartwatch and Pebble both run non-Android operating systems, for example.
There are multiple fitness apps and sensors built into the new Gear devices, but they will also connect to a number of Samsung apps like WatchON. Samsung didn't elaborate on compatibility with other brands of smartphone, but did say the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo "are compatible with more than dozens [sic] of Samsung Galaxy smartphones at launch." That's vague enough that it could go either way, but I'd still bet on it being Samsung-only.
Gear 2 Neo
There are no prices available yet, but the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be for sale worldwide in April.