Earlier in the week, Samsung hinted that it would have a new watch coming. Now, we know more, and the news is good if you’re in the market for the modern take on the wristwatch.
No stranger to the smartwatch, this year Samsung is improving on its formula, working its research and development teams to make a change from the style of devices we’ve seen from the company in recent years.
Indeed, if you go far back, you’ll find Samsung has been fiddling with smartwatches longer than most companies, with the Galaxy Gear first appearing in 2013, with new models last year pushing out the smartwatch concept even before Apple did, which happened this year.
Last year, Google joined with its own operating system, and LG, Motorola, and Asus all joined at this time, while Samsung had the aforementioned Gear Live, which wasn’t widely released here.
In this year’s entry, Samsung is taking its traditionally square watch and making it circular, which we saw when the company announced it earlier in the week. Back when the announcement was made, we knew what it ran on — dual-core processor and Tizen OS — and the variants Samsung was making, but now, we know a little more.
For starters, it won’t be closed off, with Samsung making the software development kit available for the Gear S2 watch, downloadable today allowing people who want to make apps and watch faces to start now ahead of the release later in the year. That’s good, because previous Gear watches have sorely needed apps and watch faces, featuring the bare minimum and feeling like half-finished smart devices than fully fledged smart watches.
At the time of release, Samsung says that news and sports apps will already exist for the watch, while Uber may also work with the platform, as will Nike’s running application, handy for those who may want to catch a lift, run somewhere, or run after their lift.
Also handy to know is that you’ll find quite a few watch faces ready to go when it launches, as Samsung is working with Italian designer Alessandro Mendini not just for accessories, but also for unique designs, allowing watch owners to make the device look a little different.
That’s been one solid criticism of the Apple Watch as it really has a limited amount of watch faces, though Apple does plan on opening it up later on. In contrast to this, Google has quite a few watch faces ready to go in the Google Play Store, as Google opened that up long ago.
“Because smartwatches are worn directly on the wrist, visible to everyone, they represent a more unique, personal experience than the everyday smartphone,” said Samsung’s Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for Samsung’s IT & Mobile Division.
“Our partnership with Alessandro Mendini on these exquisite watch faces and bands for the Gear S2 is part of our continued commitment to deliver more custom options that help users express their personal styles while they stay connected.”
You’ll have to wait a few weeks until you can see what Mendini has in store for digital watch faces, though, with Samsung Australia not yet ready with pricing or a concrete date. It has said that it will be stocking it, however, and tells us that it will be coming soon, so you probably don’t have too long to wait.