Over the past year, many signs have emerged that Apple is working an iWatch centered around health and fitness features. The company has made a plethora of hires in the health field recently, and our sources have said that the device is already well into development. Samsung, on the other hand, albeit to incredibly poor reviews, released its Galaxy Gear smartwatch just five months ago. This evening, the Korean company has taken the wraps off of not one, but two new smartwatches: the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. The difference between the two models is the lack of a camera on the Gear Neo. As rumored earlier this month, both of the models have ditched Android in favor of Samsung’s Tizen operating system.
According to Samsung, the switch to Tizen will offer many improvements to the end-user. First off, Tizen is much less power intensive, which means battery life has improved to 2-3 days, according to Samsung—much better than the one day life given by the original Gear. Tizen will also offer an “enriched application ecosystem” to the user.
In terms of specifications, both new Gear models are rocking a 1.63-inch touchscreen, 4Gb of internal storage, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 300mAh battery and 512MB of RAM. The Gear 2 also features a 2MP camera with 720p video capabilities, while the Neo lacks a camera altogether.
The original Gear’s design was not highly praised by customers, and Samsung hasn’t made a ton of changes to the physical design of the device with this refresh, but there are some tweaks. First, the camera is now located on the front of the watch, next to the IR blaster. It was originally located on the wrist strap, which cluttered the design and made taking pictures rather awkward. The mic has been moved to the body of the device, as well. Because of these changes, Samsung will now let users switch the wristband of the Gear with third-party bands. It’s unclear, however, if the Gear 2 will use the common 22mm strap like the Pebble, or if it’s something specific.
Samsung did not release any information regarding pricing, but did say the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available worldwide starting in April. The Gear 2 will be available in Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange, while the Neo will be available in Mocha Grey, Charcoal Black, and Wild Orange. Samsung also says the watches will be compatible with “more than dozens” of Galaxy devices when released.
This begs the question of whether Apple is falling behind in the smartwatch field, seeing that Samsung and Pebble are both already multiple product cycles in and the Cupertino company has yet to unveil its first attempt. Of course, Apple proved with the iPhone that it doesn’t necessarily have to be first in a market to succeed. As the iWatch is expected to run a unique version of iOS 8, it should be released sometime later this year. As with most things, however, Apple’s first attempt will probably be dramatically better than Samsung’s first and second and once again prove that you don’t have to be first.