Samsung's latest smartwatch, the Gear S2, is now available for preorder from Verizon and T-Mobile, with availability beginning Nov. 6 from Verizon and Nov. 15 from T-Mobile.
The Samsung Gear S2 will sell for $349.99 from Verizon and for $359.99 from T-Mobile, according to separate Oct. 15 announcements by the two mobile carriers.
Verizon customers can also choose to preorder the Gear S2 for $299.99 with a new two-year activation. Adding the Gear S2 to a Verizon mobile phone account can be done for an extra $5 per month. Verizon will offer the smartwatch in Dark Gray or Silver colors.
T-Mobile customers can buy their Gear S2 for $15 per month for the first 23 months and then a final payment of $14.99, for a total of $359.99. T-Mobile is also offering the Dark Gray or Silver colors, as well as a $5 per month access fee to use the device on a customer's mobile phone account.
The Samsung Gear S2 works with compatible Android smartphones through the Samsung Gear S2 app. Compatible phones must be running Android 4.4 or later and have at least 1.5GB of RAM.
The smartwatch lets users get notifications, email and calls right on their wrist, without having to pull out their smartphones.
The Gear S2 features a circular watch face design reminiscent of classic timepieces, which incorporates a custom user interface and a rotating bezel, along with the home and back buttons to allow access to notifications and applications, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The 1.2-inch circular screen has 360-by-360 resolution (302 pixels per inch) and is powered by the latest Tizen operating system and an optimized 1GHz dual core processor. The smartwatch also includes 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of memory, as well as a 300mAh battery that the company claims will last two to three days. The watch comes with a wireless dock for charging.
Just in time for the pending releases of the new Gear S2, Samsung has also unveiled a collection of third-party apps that can be used with the new devices, according to an Oct. 12 post on the Samsung Tomorrow blog. The apps were created by developers using the Gear S2 Software Developers Kit that was unveiled in April by the company, in anticipation of the watch's release.
"We made sure to put in as much time as needed to optimize the applications for the new circular design and UX," Joohyung Jeong, of the product planning team of the IT and mobile communications business division at Samsung, said in a statement. "We wanted to offer a great variety of useful applications to the users at the time of launch, which was made possible with the early announcement of the SDK."
Among the new Gear S2 apps are a Nike + Running app that lets users keep track of their runs; a Twitter Trends app to keep track of what's happening on the social media platform; the Line free messaging app; a Yelp app for local business ratings on the go; an app from Volkswagen that lets users check to be sure that their car is locked as well as other functions; and an app from SmartThings that turns a user's home into an Internet of things smart home, according to Samsung.
The Samsung Gear S2 was announced in September at the IFA show in Berlin, adding to a growing market of devices that has been given a boost by the media hype surrounding the Apple Watch.
IT research group IDC estimates the wearables market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 42.6 percent over the next five years. It projects that 155.7 million units will be shipped in 2019. This year, 72.1 million wearable devices are expected to ship, up a robust 173.3 percent from the 26.4 million wearables consumers snapped up in 2014.