Samsung smartwatches have had a checkered past. The Galaxy Gear smartwatch was arguably the first mainstream smartwatch ever. There were plenty of “smartwatches” before, even from Samsung themselves, but the Galaxy Gear really brought things into the foreground with the power of Samsung advertising and finally having an Android operating system that made sense to pair it with. The original Galaxy Gear ran Android 4.3 (this was before Android Wear was available to consumers), but very heavily skinned to have that Touchwiz feel. Although it was released in 2013 along with Android 4.3, it didn’t use the new Android 4.3 notification access API, favoring a proprietary notification manager from Samsung making it only usable with Samsung smartphones.
Since then there have been several other Samsung smartwatches including the Gear 2 (which dropped the Galaxy brand when it was released running Tizen), Gear fit, Gear S, and Gear Live the latter of which was running Android Wear. After releasing every square smartwatch they could think of, Samsung finally announced their first circular set of watches and dubbed them the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. Please don’t consult logic when considering the naming scheme because there doesn’t seem to be any. The original Gear S was a curved rectangular screen and now these are circular screens, albeit they all do share the fact that they both run on Samsung’s ‘Tizen-based wearable platform’ (yes, that’s actually what it’s called).
That’s not to say they aren’t good looking watches. The Gear S2 ‘Classic’ features a black rigid body with exposed lugs and a black leather armband and is being advertised with more traditional or classic looking watch faces.
The Gear S2 itself, presumably the watch that Samsung will be trying to push given its name, has more of a soft touch metal body that comes in black or chrome colors with matching silicone bands.
One of the more interesting points of the watch is that is comes with NFC on-board that can be used for pairing and NFC payments. It’s odd considering Samsung’s payment system has been pushing the loop pay features of Samsung Pay, but NFC will work too. It also supports (probably Qi) wireless charging, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The chipset onboard is an unnamed 1GHz chip, but it’s probably safe to guess that it’s a low-powered Exynos chip. The Gear S2 smartwatches also sport 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and 302 PPI on their 360×360 Super AMOLED 1.2″ display.
There are also two models of each being released, one with and one without 3G cellular support for all 4 major US carriers using e-SIM. The 3G version will have a 300 mAh battery, while the non-3G model will have a 250 mAh battery on board, which according to Samsung should last 2-3 days. More than likely these new Gear S2 watches will share one additional commonality with their predecessors in that they will probably only be compatible with Samsung smartphones since they rely on Samsung’s push service to get information. The release date for the Gear S2 is currently unknown as well as the price, but we do know that they will be available this fall.