Remember the original Galaxy Gear? It was among the very first Android Wear devices, released way back in the halcyon days of 2013. A huge experiment in wearable tech, it was every inch a first-gen product, including an oddball 1.9MP camera mounted on the proprietary wristband. In the years since Samsung switched from Wear to its internal Tizen OS, eventually sending an update that completely overwrote the original OS in 2014.
Samsung has been making wearables for the better part of forever, but like all companies that make money off hardware sales, it can only offer support for so long. Now it looks like Samsung may be ending support on upcoming 2021 smartphones for some older Gear wearables — including the Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear S.
Samsung introduced its revamped One UI interface in November. The company claims the new design is more intuitive and requires less finger movement on large screens. In addition, it brings a dark mode for stock apps and system elements, which looks sleek and saves battery on OLED displays.
Since then, almost all Samsung-branded software has been updated to reflect the new theme, but the Galaxy Wearable app seemed to have been left aside, despite the release of a new version mid-February (APK Mirror). The company appears to be fixing this with the rollout of an update that gives it One UI's new looks.
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 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.
The original Galaxy Gear was a tough sell at $299. Heck, even at the $199 price you can find it for these days, it's still a tough sell. Let's be honest, even paying that much for any of the quarter-dozen Gears Samsung replaced the gadget with takes some convincing. But $99? That's a number I can get behind, and it's one I'm sure some of you can as well. Today eBay Daily Deals has the Galaxy Gear, refurbished, available in three colors for precisely that amount.
I mean, sure, you have to actually want a Galaxy Gear to be willing to pay any price for it.
The original Galaxy Gear wasn't for everyone (particularly people who don't own a Samsung phone). It also suffered from limited app compatibility and a quirky interface. Its biggest drawback, though, was the price: $299. That's a lot to ask for a smartwatch that only does a handful of things. But what about $99? That's how much Best Buy is currently selling refurbished models of the device for as part of today's deal of the day.
There's a decent chance that many of these refurbished models are essentially new watches that people returned not long after opening. Despite what the screenshot above says, you won't be able to have one shipped to your doorstep - though it looks like store pickup is available.