Samsung was one of the very first mainstream companies to jump onto the smartwatch bandwagon, when it released the original Galaxy Gear S smartwatch back in 2013. Ever since that device was launched, there have been a number of companies including Apple, LG, Huawei, Motorola, Asus etc. who’ve come up with their own offerings in a product segment that has continued to remain fairly niche as of late 2015. Last month at the IFA trade show held in Berlin, Samsung launched its very first smartwatch with circular display, called the Gear S2, which makes the device look more like a regular wristwatch and less of a children’s toy, unlike the company’s earlier offerings. The company has understandably been bullish about the prospects of the device, and had even released the SDK (Software Development Kit) of the Gear S2 before the product even hit the market.
The one thing worth remembering here however, is that while Android Wear is the operating system of choice for a huge majority of smartwatch vendors in the market today, the Gear S2 from Samsung continues to run on Tizen OS, which is an open-source software platform based on the Linux kernel. In fact, the only Samsung smartwatch to have run on Android Wear was instead of Tizen was the Samsung Gear Live, which was launched by the South Korean company late last year. While Tizen continues to struggle to gain traction from the developer community compared to Android Wear and the Apple Watch, Samsung believes that the support it has got from some big-name developers will convince others that the platform is here to stay and compete with Android Wear on even terms.
The circular watch-face though, necessitated a complete design change of all apps for Samsung’s Gear smartwatches to suit the display on Samsung’s new offering, as previous smartwatches from the company had all featured rectangular displays. Which is why, the company has now come out and claimed that “Because of the Gear S2’s unique, rotating bezel and a circular display, Samsung’s partners were eager to create apps for the smartwatch”. While Samsung has announced that it has “hundreds of apps available for the Gear S2 already” the company has chosen to highlight eight “Timeless Partners”, namely, Nike+ Running, Twitter Trends, Line messenger, Yelp for Gear, Volkswagen, SmartThings for IoT-enabled smart devices, Kevo by Unikey and Voxer.
Announcing the availability of new apps for the Gear S2 smartwatch from the company, Mr. Joohyung Jeong from Samsung’s Product Planning Team of IT & Mobile Communications Business division, said, “We made sure to put in as much time as needed to optimize the applications for the new circular design and UX. 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”.