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For Samsung, a new year, a new Gear -- and new apps

For Samsung's quick second generation of its Gear smartwatch brought new apps, like iHeartRadio.

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio was one of a few third-party developers to create an app for Samsung's Gear 2, its second generation smartwatch.

For Samsung, it's a new year, and a new smartwatch -- and that means new apps.

The world's biggest smartphone maker unveiled the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain -- both powered by its homegrown Tizen operating system, instead of Google's Android.

Apps were a key factor to Samsung's decision to introduce Tizen through its smartwatch, and no doubt the company will make hay about the apps on Gear 2 at its Unpacked event Monday at 11 a.m. PT.

In its short life since launching in September, Samsung's Gear line hasn't been getting many new apps, but the introduction of the wearable's second generation -- not even half a year since the first one rolled out -- brings with it new app partners and updates from app makers for the first version.

The first Galaxy Gear smartwatch debuted with 70 applications centered on fitness, social media, and productivity, including apps from companies like Evernote, Path, and eBay.

That seems to pale to competitors like Sony's SmartWatch 2, which launched in June with more than 200. However, Sony's catalog didn't boast many brand-name applications among the offerings.

So, what apps will be making their way to the Gear 2. Here's what know so far. (This is a live document, updated with news of other apps as they're announced.)

iHeartRadio, the digital arm of radio giant Clear Channel, is a new partner and the first digital radio service on Gear 2, after the previous version was limited to controlling your paired phone's own media library and a buggy application RadiON. It's the first wearable app from iHeartRadio, too.

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio was a new third-party developer to create an app for Samsung's Gear 2. iHeartRadio

Like other media apps on smartwatches, it allows Samsung Gear 2 owners to remotely control their iHeartRadio smartphone app from their wrist. From the band, Gear 2 can access favorite stations (including those you've customized previously), save favorites, scan for live radio stations that are part of Clear Channels network, skip songs on custom stations, and give tracks a thumbs up or thumbs down rating.

iHeartRadio as a service has access to 1,500 live radio stations and provides the ability to create stations similar to those you can make in Pandora.

On Gear 2, the app will be compatible with more than 30 devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note and S series smartphones, as well as Galaxy tablets.

It's not, however, built for Tizen. Brian Lakamp, Clear Channel's president of digital, told CNET the company built its Gear 2 app based on HTML 5 and Javascript rather than Samsung's brand new, homegrown operating system.

That also means the app is more portable to other wearables outside the Tizen universe, which right now is minuscule.

"It's impossible to ignore the traction and momentum of the wearable space," Lakamp said. "This is a natural first step in that direction."

Though Samsung has offered millions of dollars in prizes and funding to get developers to make apps for Tizen, no money changed hands for the iHeart app.


A screenshot of Glympse location sharing. Glympse

Location-sharing application Glympse is returning with Samsung's ChatON messaging service in tow.

Glympse was one of the apps available for Galaxy Gear right after launch. Its return to Gear 2 comes at the same time it's announcing a partnership with ChatON, the Samsung messaging service.

By teaming up, Glympse can provide temporary location sharing to the ChatON's roughly 180 million users in 200 countries. On Gear 2, you can send your location to ChatON friends using Glympse directly or from within the ChatON messaging conversation.

Bryan Trussel, Glympse's Chief Executive and cofounder, said the integration stems from the company's principle that location technology should be ubiquitous and easy, including "putting it directly into an SMS conversation."

Check back here for a wrap of other Gear 2 apps as they're announced. And be sure to tune into CNET's live coverage of Samsung's Unpacked event Monday at 11 a.m. PT.

Update, 9 a.m. PT: Added Glympse app.

Full CNET coverage of the 2014 Mobile World Congress