Consumer electronics giant Samsung announced its latest smartwatch, the Gear S2, at the IFA show in Berlin. It’s the latest addition to a growing market of devices that has been given a boost by the media hype surrounding the Apple Watch.
Housed in a circular design reminiscent of classic timepieces, the smartwatch offers a custom user interface (UI) and sports a rotating bezel, along with the home and back buttons to allow access notifications and applications.
The 1.2-inch circular screen boasts 360 x 360 resolution (302 pixels per inch) and is powered by the latest Tizen operating system (OS) and an optimized 1-GHz dual core processor.
Also packed inside is 4 GB of internal storage and 512 MB of random access memory (RAM), as well as a battery that the company claims will last two or three days. The watch also comes packed with a wireless charging dock.
Samsung is rolling out the smartwatch in two style editions—the Gear S2 and the S2 Classic, which features a more traditional watch design with a black finish and a matching genuine leather band.
The sportier S2 base model offers consumers a more minimal and utilitarian look, though both offer at-a-glance notifications to check calendars, emails, news, and even send texts.
Other features include 3G connectivity, which incorporates e-SIM with voice capability and a 24-hour activity log, which lets users view daily activity progress and patterns and send reminder updates tied to fitness goals.
The watch will also come equipped with near field communication technology (NFC), which would allow users to make payments using the watch—something a recent study indicated Apple Watch fans find very useful.
The Gear S2 joins an increasingly crowded market already populated with models by LG, Fitbit, Pebble, and of course Apple.
In an effort to differentiate themselves from the competition, Apple, LG and Tag Heuer—a traditional watchmaker—have started offering premium models aimed at luxury consumers.
In March, LG announced its upcoming standard LG Watch Urbane and its LTE-equipped sibling, the LG Watch Urbane LTE, which both include beautifully designed and styled stainless steel bodies, leather wristbands and round watch faces that look like traditional luxury wristwatches.
Apple offers a Watch Edition model, which is available in 18-karat Yellow or Rose Gold case, sapphire crystal, and a range of bands, and starts at a whopping $10,000.Samsung didn’t release pricing details for the Gear S2.
IT research group IDC estimates the wearables market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 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.