MWC 2014: Tizen-Powered Samsung Gear 2 Aims To Take Smartwatch Lead

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Samsung Gear 2 billed as “essential” companion to smartphones, as Samsung swaps Android for Tizen

Samsung has kicked off Mobile World Congress (MWC) by announcing its first Tizen-based devices, the Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, which will be released around the world in April.

Ditching Android, and the ‘Galaxy’ moniker, the two devices are billed as “essential” companions to Samsung smartphones, with up to 12 Galaxy devices supported at launch. Users can accept or reject incoming calls and receive custom notifications on a 1.63-inch AMOLED screen, while the second generation of Samsung smartwatches also have a number of standalone features.

These include a music player, which can be paired with a Bluetooth headset, and a number of personal fitness applications, including a pedometer, exercise and heart rate sensor, along with downloadable apps for sleep and stress.

Samsung Gear 2

Group_Galaxy Gear 2The Samsung Gear 2 is also compatible with a range of Samsung products, some of which can be remotely controlled on the smartwatch, while it also has access to a range of Tizen apps. The two megapixel camera is located on the screen rather than the strap, which Samsung believes results in a sleeker design with users able to choose from a number of different colour straps.

The new smartwatches are powered by a 1GHz dual core processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, and Samsung promises that the battery will last for two to three days through normal use and up to six days if used sparingly.

“Samsung continues to lead in the wearable technology market with innovative, creative devices that are completely integrated into the lives of our customers,” says Simon Stanford, vice president of Samsung’s UK mobile division. “Offering extended connectivity features, stylish customisation options and a robust application network, we have enhanced everything that people love about the original Galaxy Gear to create a second generation of wearable devices that offer unparalleled smart freedom.”

Wearable technology

The Korean manufacturer will hope the new versions breathe fresh life into its wearable technology efforts as it wants to establish itself as a leader of a still fledgling market. Its first smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, received poor reviews and a number of other companies, most notably Apple, are rumoured to have competitors in development.

The decision to use Tizen rather than Android will also stimulate another one of Samsung’s pet projects. Smartphones running the open source operating system had been expected last year, but this deadline was not met, leading to questions about the platform’s future.

However the Linux Association told TechWeekEurope that the operating system was “alive and well” in an interview last year and Samsung is expected to launch its first Tizen handset at MWC, possibly the Samsung ZEQ9000.

The winners of the Tizen App Challenge, which was designed to encourage developers to create Tizen applications for a variety of devices, have also been announced in Barcelona, with Samsung and Intel among the companies to contribute to a $4 million prize fund for the winners.

Think wearable tech could be the new black?  Try our quiz on for size!

Samsung Gear 2

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Samsung Gear 2

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