Samsung shows off Gear S2 at IFA, no longer restricted to Galaxy Phones!

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The Gear S2 was hardly a secret when Samsung showed it off this morning at their IFA media event, but we did learn quite a bit more about the device. Perhaps the most exciting thing has nothing to do with hardware at all: The Gear S2 will work with Android phones not made by Samsung! There are a few restrictions of course, namely that your phone needs to be running Android 4.4 or better and feature at least 1.5 GB of RAM. Those are pretty modest restrictions by today’s standard, so most people looking to use the Gear S2 should be set.

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Samsung opted for a more traditional round smartwatch this year. Actually they opted to try a few new round-face designs. The new Gear S2 comes in the regular model with a modern look and sporty feel as well as a Classic model that resembles a traditional watch. The watches are both quite thin and light for their size class and feature 1.2″ AMOLED displays at 360×360 resolution at 302 PPI. The Gear S2 also features a convenient rotating bezel that allows easy navigation through apps, watchfaces, and notifications. It seems to me that turning the bezel to navigate the interface is even more intuitive than the digital crown approach Apple took on the Apple Watch. The S2 is still running Tizen OS as opposed to Android Wear, but it looks all kinds of snappy in the hands-on videos I’ve seen today. Oh, it also has wireless charging. My two broken Gear S charging cradles thank you Samsung!

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Overall I think the Gear S2 looks pretty sweet. I was on the fence, but I’ll probably be interested in reviewing this watch. I don’t entirely understand why the Classic version isn’t being offered in a 3G variant, I’d like to be Classic and still have 3G connectivity. It also seems a bit lame that Samsung Pay won’t be available on the Gear S2 until November, but considering the watches don’t release until October I can live with this. The number of apps Samsung showed off at the event was pretty insane…way more than what is available for my Gear S right now. Hopefully the new traditional watch design will get more developers on board with Tizen. Who out there is interested in Samsung’s new offering? We’ll be sure to keep you posted on pricing and exact availability as soon as it is available, keep it locked here to HOA!

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Jeff Springer

"I am currently a researcher and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. I fell in love with Android with the Nexus One release and realized that it was superior to iOS in all the ways I care about. I still use a Mac (and an iPhone for the camera), but my Apple tech products pale in comparison to my number of Android devices (watches, tablets, and phones). When I’m not rooting/modding one of my many Android phones or doing math/programming, you can find me taking in Phoenix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix, and drinking good beer!"