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.
Google raised eyebrows back at the I/O developer conference, saying that the next iteration of Wear OS would be developed alongside Samsung. The company's Galaxy-branded smartwatches have eschewed Wear OS for years in favor of its own in-house Tizen operating system. Our first real glimpse at this hybridized Wear OS might just come later today when Samsung shows off its "vision for the future of smartwatches," and you can watch it right here.
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.
Those of you who follow Samsung closely may have noticed that devices running Android or Android-based OSes (e.g. Galaxy S9, Galaxy J7, Galaxy Gear) all have the "Galaxy" in their name for the most part, whereas those that run Tizen/other software (e.g. Gear Fit, Gear S3, Z4) don't. You can imagine our confusion, then, when it was revealed that Samsung filed trademark applications for the names "Galaxy Watch" and "Galaxy Fit."
Samsung's wearables—fully wireless earbuds, watches, and fitness bands—have traditionally fallen under the "Gear" umbrella. A couple of new filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office suggest that could change, though: Samsung has applied for trademarks on the names Samsung Galaxy Watch and Samsung Galaxy Fit.
Samsung's Gear line of smartwatches has come a long way since 2013's geeky-looking, Android-powered Galaxy Gear. The latest additions to the family, the Gear S3 frontier and Gear S3 classic, were announced over two months ago at IFA, and now, they're finally available - in South Korea.
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.