Samsung updates its smartwatch, dropping the Galaxy name, shifting to Tizen OS, improving battery life and adding exciting new stand-alone features.
At Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Samsung has announced a big shift for its Galaxy Gear smartwatch device. Dropping the Galaxy name to become the Gear 2, with the Gear 2 Neo in tow, Samsung's Gear is set to gain more stand-alone features alongside its ability to act as a companion to your Samsung smartphone.
The Samsung Gear 2 shifts to the company's own Tizen OS, which is a leaner system than Android and may suit the smart watch platform better — we'll see what it feels like once we get hands-on.
The Gear 2 is a shade lighter than the original, but also now incorporates the camera directly into the watch instead of the strap. The microphone has also been moved away from the clasp and on to the watch itself. This now creates the opportunity to change the wristband for a range of looks and colours, with three colours available at launch — Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange for the Gear 2 and Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange for the Gear 2 Neo.
The Gear 2 also steps up to a dual core 1.0GHz processor and a 2.0 Megapixel camera.
You'll still be able to screen calls and notifications through your Gear 2, but now there are many more stand-alone features included. An embedded IR sensor allows you to use your Gear 2 as a remote for a TV or set-top box. A dedicated music player allows you to put a music collection on to the Gear 2 and listen over Bluetooth headphones. Plus it now includes personal fitness coaching options as well as heart rate monitoring.
The Gear 2 Neo is essentially the same as the Gear 2 but with the camera dropped entirely, which reduces the weight down to just 55g.
Samsung now claims the battery life for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will deliver 2-3 days of "typical usage" and 6 days of "low usage". That's a big step forward from the quoted 25 hours for the original model.
No pricing details yet, but Samsung says the products will be available in April.
We'll have a lot more insight and hands-on coverage soon from Mobile World Congress 2014, so stay tuned or check out the CNETMobile World Congress 2014 hub.