Just a Fad? Samsung Unveils Smartwatch 'Gear 2'

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Writing text messages, sending emails, and taking photos can all be done using smartphones, tablets, and traditional computers, such as laptops and desktops. The question is: do we need yet another device that gives us instant access to more data and will it be useful? And if so, is that device a "smartwatch"?

Samsung certainly thinks so. The firm, which released its first smartwatch in the form of the Galaxy Gear late last year, has now unveiled the Samsung Gear 2. Most notably, the Korean firm's newest smartwatch boasts a brand new operating system, called "Tizen."

Samsung Ousts Android, Opts for 'Tizen' Operating System

The big difference between the Galaxy Gear and the 'Gear 2' is Samsung's decision to ditch the Android mobile operating system (OS) in favor of Samsung's own Tizen OS. (Source: wsj.com)

According to research firms IDC and Gartner, Samsung makes half of the Android-based smartphones globally, with the Android operating system owning more than 70% of the global smartphone market. Analysts suggest that Samsung is motivated to move away from Android, because it wants greater control over the operating system in its devices. (Source: computerworld.com)

Similar to the Android operating system, Tizen is Linux-based and is designed to be scalable and portable. Tizen is a joint-effort from many major corporations, including Samsung, Intel, Fujitsu, NEC, and Panasonic to name a few. According to reports, Tizen is meant as an alternative to Android or iOS, but not a replacement. (Source: androidcentral.com)

It's suggested that the shift to Tizen could help Samsung acquaint consumers with the new operating system, which is also expected to make its way onto smartphones and tablets in the near future. (Source: cnet.com)

New Features: Camera, Bluetooth Music Player, Heart Rate Monitor

One big change involves moving the device's camera from the strap to the main body. However, given that said camera features a resolution of just two megapixels, it's unlikely to replace the camera on your favorite Apple or Samsung smartphone.

Samsung has also added a Bluetooth-based music player to the Gear 2, in addition to infrared support and a heart rate sensor. The latter component will be useful for fitness-minded types, and those who have serious heart conditions which requires constant monitoring. Other features include the ability to remote control a television and similar devices using a built-in infrared sensor. (Source: cnet.com)

Samsung has shaven 6 grams off the total weight of its smartwatch, with the Gear 2 coming in at a rather lean 2.4 ounces. But if that's not light enough, consumers can opt for a 1.9-ounce Samsung Gear Neo, which ships without the two-megapixel camera.

The watch features a 1.63-inch LED-based display at 320x320 resolution and a 1.0GHz dual-core processor. It has 512MB of RAM and 4 gigabytes of storage, with a 300mAh lithium-ion battery, expected to last two to three days without requiring a recharge. (Source: techhive.com) The combined processing power and available storage means that the device's functionality can easily be expanded upon in the future.

What's Your Opinion?

What do you think of owning a smartwatch? Do you foresee the need to be 'connected' using your watch, rather than your phone, or using both at the same time? Do you think a smartwatch will ever replace the need for a smartphone? Is the screen of a smartwatch too small to make any information useful or feasible? Lastly, would you buy one, if the price was right?

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warren's picture

It good to see that someone is doing something with a new operating system, let's hope it makes it's way to a smart phone.
Quite frankly the Android operating system on the smart phones is quite a let down.
I switched from my Blackberry to an android phone and after 2 weeks i threw it in the bin and went back to the blackberry.
For a smart phone it was pretty dumb.

As for the smart watch, i think it will be fun to watch as the technology grows, hopefully it will be into something usefull.

Dennis Faas's picture

A smartwatch that reads blood sugar would be incredibly beneficial, if they ever figure out a way to do it. Imagine looking at your watch instead of having to prick your finger. There would be a huge market, I'm sure.

al's picture

Nice to think we might not need to take our phone EVERYWHERE in the future, especially for sport activities! Hope it's good and affordable....only hope we can have a duplicate simcard and run both on one normal provider tariff. Seems appropriate to use a designed for purpose operating system. Good for Samsung, they seem a good company to me, pleased with their stuff so far, from washing machines to phones.