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It has been just six months since the release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but the company is already introducing the next generation version of the device, this time around with two distinct models (Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo). Despite Samsung seriously hyping up the Galaxy Gear when it first launched, sales were less than impressive and the product never really took off in the way I think Samsung had intended. The new Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are supposed to fix many of the problems that plagued the original Galaxy Gear including battery life, weight, and speed.

The new Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are very similar, the major difference between the two is the lack of camera on the Gear 2 Neo.  In terms of functions and capabilities, both devices offer the ability to see incoming calls, text messages, and notifications in addition to running various apps including apps from partners such as CNN, GARMIN, PayPal, Evernote, and many others.  Both devices are supposed to have 2-3 days of battery life with “normal usage” which is a definite improvement to its predecessor which barely lasted a day on a single charge.

Gear-2-blackPerhaps one of the most important and interesting things about the new Galaxy Gear devices is the fact that Samsung dumped Android as the operating system that runs the watch in favor of Tizen, its own open source operating system developed together with Intel and other partners.

Samsung hasn’t specifically come out and said why it chose Tizen over Android, I’m thinking better battery life may have been a factor but that’s merely speculation on my part.  The decision to move with Tizen over Android also is interesting because of the recent major licensing agreement between both Google and Samsung which seemed to indicate a tighter alliance between the two companies.

No pricing details for the Gear 2 smartwatches have been released yet, but the company says they will be available in April, likely alongside the Galaxy S5 which we expect to be announced tomorrow at Mobile World Congress during its Unpacked 5 event. We’ll be at the simulcast event in NYC to bring you the latest so stay tuned.


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