Samsung reveals two new Gear smartwatches – ditches Android OS, but still looks ‘meh’

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Gear 2_Gear 2 Neo

Instead of announcing its successor to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch at its UNPACKED event this week, Samsung has decided to announce it today. Meet the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo – the Korean company’s second attempt at the smartwatch. And you would have noticed that it’s no longer the Galaxy Gear – and that’s because Samsung has ditched Android in favour of its own Tizen OS.

Both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo still retains the 1.63-inch display, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. However, both include a dual-core 1GHz processor inside, instead of an 800MHz processor in the Galaxy Gear. The Gear 2 also has a 2-megapixel camera and, unlike the Galaxy Gear, the camera is on the main body not the strap. The Gear 2 Neo does not have a camera.

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will still let you accept or ignore calls and messages, and track your fitness. However, as part of being an “extension of a consumer’s daily life”, it will include a WatchON remote application. This means you can simply control your TV or set-top box through your watch with the embedded infrared LED sensor.

In terms of design, both are slightly better than the Galaxy Gear and the straps are much better than the plastic solid colours. But they still look – well, at least to me – unappealing to wear, Samsung saying that the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo can now fit well with someone’s outfit.

Samsung says the battery life has been improved, and lasts between 2 and 3 days. It also says that both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are “compatible with more than dozens of Samsung Galaxy smartphones at launch” – which ones, however, Samsung refuses to state.

It will be available worldwide from April. No word on Australian availability or release dates.