Next Wednesday, October 14 2015, Samsung is launching something into the Indian market. At this juncture, Samsung's invite does not give much away as to the product or products that will be launched but we believe that the company will be introducing the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches. These two watches, which run Tizen rather than Android Wear or a derivative of Android, were originally announced in September 2015 ahead of the IFA show and are currently on sale for $299.99 for the Gear S2 and $349.99 for the Gear S2 Classic. Tizen is Samsung's own in-house operating system that can trace its lineage through Bada, and is at the centre of Samsung's push into IoT (Internet of Things) technology.
The devices are a little different to the current generation of Android Wear smartwatches although offer a similar hardware specification, being based around a 1.0 GHz dual core processor, having 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of local storage. Both models come with the usual expected assortment of sensors and radios for a modern smartwatch, including Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light and barometer (which is ideal for counting stairs the wear has climbed). However, where the Tizen-powered Gear S2 family differs to Android Wear is in the user interface, where Samsung have used a rotating bezel and two buttons for control, around a 1.2-inch, 360 by 360 pixel circular Samsung AMOLED panel. There are fewer applications available for Tizen although Samsung have already encouraged sufficient big name developers and applications onto the platform. Tizen is a lighter operating system compared with Android Wear and this is reflected in Samsung's battery life claims are for two to three days from a 250 mAh rechargeable battery. The models are compatible with the majority of Android devices running at least Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
If Samsung is indeed launching the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic, it will be interesting to see how the smartwatches are priced and distributed and in a few months, how well the models have sold and how much of a discount Samsung have applied. We have already seen how Chinese Android device manufacturers are already adopting Android Wear for new designs and several are likely to be launched in both China and India, which will bring increased competition to the market. We will keep you in the loop with an update after Wednesday's announcement.