As Apple continues development of iWatch, Samsung releases two new second-gen Gear smartwatches

Over the past year, many signs have emerged that Apple is working an iWatch centered around health and fitness features. The company has made a plethora of hires in the health field recently, and our sources have said that the device is already well into development. Samsung, on the other hand, albeit to incredibly poor reviews, released its Galaxy Gear smartwatch just five months ago. This evening, the Korean company has taken the wraps off of not one, but two new smartwatches: the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo.  The difference between the two models is the lack of a camera on the Gear Neo. As rumored earlier this month, both of the models have ditched Android in favor of Samsung’s Tizen operating system.

According to Samsung, the switch to Tizen will offer many improvements to the end-user. First off, Tizen is much less power intensive, which means battery life has improved to 2-3 days, according to Samsung—much better than the one day life given by the original Gear. Tizen will also offer an “enriched application ecosystem” to the user.

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In terms of specifications, both new Gear models are rocking a 1.63-inch touchscreen, 4Gb of internal storage, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 300mAh battery and 512MB of RAM. The Gear 2 also features a 2MP camera with 720p video capabilities, while the Neo lacks a camera altogether.

The original Gear’s design was not highly praised by customers, and Samsung hasn’t made a ton of changes to the physical design of the device with this refresh, but there are some tweaks. First, the camera is now located on the front of the watch, next to the IR blaster. It was originally located on the wrist strap, which cluttered the design and made taking pictures rather awkward. The mic has been moved to the body of the device, as well. Because of these changes, Samsung will now let users switch the wristband of the Gear with third-party bands. It’s unclear, however, if the Gear 2 will use the common 22mm strap like the Pebble, or if it’s something specific.

Samsung did not release any information regarding pricing, but did say the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available worldwide starting in April. The Gear 2 will be available in Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange, while the Neo will be available in Mocha Grey, Charcoal Black, and Wild Orange. Samsung also says the watches will be compatible with “more than dozens” of Galaxy devices when released.

This begs the question of whether Apple is falling behind in the smartwatch field, seeing that Samsung and Pebble are both already multiple product cycles in and the Cupertino company has yet to unveil its first attempt. Of course, Apple proved with the iPhone that it doesn’t necessarily have to be first in a market to succeed. As the iWatch is expected to run a unique version of iOS 8, it should be released sometime later this year. As with most things, however, Apple’s first attempt will probably be dramatically better than Samsung’s first and second and once again prove that you don’t have to be first.

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  1. Alex (@Metascover) - 9 years ago

    Their sales strategy is very different than that of Apple, and that couldn’t be more clear with these watches. The two models only differ in the camera.

  2. Matta Fakt (@mattafakt) - 9 years ago

    Apple’s strategy is to take their precious time and make sure something is done RIGHT and offers something unique before releasing it. Samsung’s strategy is to get things to market as quickly as possible and hope that the specs will sell the product. They’re better off copying existing Apple products rather than rumored ones. Having a real tangible blueprint to follow is yielding better results for them.

    • Love Harris - 9 years ago

      Right. Their Galaxy smartphones are a huge success because they had the iPhone to copy. The Galaxy gear flopped because they have no idea why a smartwatch should exist. So they tried to use their own dry will of imagination. Apple will show them how it’s done, and they;ll be on the right path. Eventually.

  3. o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

    The point of a wearable is biometrics, Apple has intelligent people who know this. Anything else is drastically missing the point.

  4. Rogifan (@rogifan) - 9 years ago

    When I started reading this I thought I was reading a Samsung press release. Who cares that Apple hasn’t released a so-called smart watch yet. There’s very little proof that these devices are popular outside of tech geeks. Apple makes products for the mainstream, not tech geeks.

  5. Sulayman (@SulaymanF) - 9 years ago

    I’m hardly concerned. The Rio and Nomad were several generations in before Apple introduced the iPod. The market instantly shifted.

  6. I think Google is going to come up with their own Smart watch and they don’t want to share their UI with others. That is why SAMSUNG is moving to Tizen.

  7. scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

    ScamScum rushing out more products most people don’t want. Sure the folks in Cupertino are having a great laugh seeing these tools rush out this 2nd generation garbage to try and beat Apple to the “watch” market sector. I put watch in quotes because in my opinion if Apple does release wearable devices they will be just a “watch” the way the iPhone is just a “phone”. This is because Apple knows they will have to put out something more than a face with a band that talks to their phone or computer. I can’t speak for others, but I own 3 nice watches I never wear so they need to bring more to the table than these early wannabes to spark interest (and help ScamScum with their 3rd and 4th versions of their watch).

  8. Lin Bao (@linbao37) - 9 years ago

    Surprised that no one has commented about how ugly the two watches are…

  9. Neiihn (@Neiihn) - 9 years ago

    One of the large problems with the original Galaxy Gear was other then most people found them ugly the amount of phones and devices they actually synced with were so minimal it was pathetic. And even these new watches are ugly still. I am hoping Apple does it right and have not only a good looking watch but one that is a decent companion to the iPhones.


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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