Apple certainly didn’t invent the smartwatch, but instead their very expensive Watch product is taking the lion’s share of revenue thanks to Apple’s effective marketing and a very high price tag, which means unit sales contribute more to the overall revenue pot compared with less expensive devices from other manufacturers. And because of Apple’s influence on the technology sector, so websites and commentators everywhere assume that a new product from an Android or Windows competitor is designed with competing against the Watch in mind. Thus, enter the Samsung Gear S2, which is an upgrade to the older Gear S model, itself a successor device to a range of Samsung (Galaxy) Gear smartwatches. As of yet, the Gear S2 has not been launched but at the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6+ Edge announcement last week, Samsung teased the new Gear S2 smartwatch.
The good news is that Samsung have redesigned the Gear S watch and replaced the curved chunk of smartwatch with a round faced design. The two look very different. Samsung today released a short teaser video on their YouTube channel showing off the Gear S2, but did not tell us much about it other than we ought to know more following the IFA press conference in early September. To look at the video, the most obvious change is from the somewhat geeky looking Gear S design to the round faced S2 complete with a metal band. We don’t see how large the Gear S2 is compared with the Gear S, but we can hope that it’s a smaller design. We also see a number of applications on the S2 such as the weather, time zone and stopwatch. As regards sensors, the screen image shows that the smartwatch has a heart rate sensor – and also shows a tickertape of up and coming activities. The watch face looks useful providing the device is not too small; it’s an upgrade over devices such as the Motorola Moto 360. And here is perhaps Samsung’s biggest challenge: the original Gear S was able to make and receive calls from your wrist thanks to the onboard 3G radio, plus that relatively large screen meant you could type text messages, too. It’s unclear if these features can be, or indeed if Samsung will try to duplicate these on the Gear S2.
As to the software running on the Gear S2, it seems unlikely that Google would allow Samsung the opportunity to modify Android Wear, nor does this fit with Samsung’s push into using Tizen OS. The Gear S2 is likely to run Samsung’s internal operating system, which the company claims has a lighter footprint compared with Android Wear. We’ve seen Tizen OS devices with lesser hardware specifications compared with Android Wear devices, so if the Gear S2 is higher powered than the older Gear smartwatches, perhaps it will feature higher performance? We should know a lot more in just a couple of weeks – but it’s interesting to see how the Apple Watch is still being seen as the Gear’s competitor, when the Moto 360 was a much bigger success than the first Samsung Android Wear device, the Gear Live.