Samsung will start shipping its new Gear S2 smartwatches in October

The company is taking a more concerted approach to the smartwatch market

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Samsung's Gear S2 smartwatch Credit: Samsung Electronics

Samsung has revealed that its new, circle-shaped Gear S2 smartwatches will start shipping in October, but has not yet said what they will cost.

The company announced the Tizen-based smartwatches earlier this week, and provided more details on Thursday at the IFA conference in Berlin.

The new lineup of smartwatches includes Wi-Fi versions of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic, as well as a 3G version of the Gear S2, which also can be used as a phone. 

The Gear S2 classic has a more sophisticated design, while the Gear S2 tries to look a bit more sporty. In terms of looks and practicality, they are a step up from last year’s unwieldy Gear S. 

Samsung has developed a new user interface that’s based on a bezel that can be turned to switch between apps and scroll down an e-mail, for example. There is also a home button and a back button. The advantage with this approach compared to the standard touch user interface is that users can see the whole screen while using it, according to Samsung.

All three models have the same basic specs, including a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED with 360 x 360 pixels, or 302 pixels per inch. They are powered by an unspecified dual-core 1GHz processor and have 4GB of storage. 

The battery on the Wi-Fi version has a 250mAh capacity, which is enough for up to three days of usage, according to Samsung. The 3G variant of the Gear S2 offers  300mAh, which still isn’t enough to offer the same battery life as the Wi-Fi versions. Samsung said it would last for up to two days.

This year has been a change of pace for Samsung’s smartphone push, with a more concerted effort to get its Tizen operating system off the ground. One of the challenges it faces is the availability of apps, which in the end will to a large degree decide whether the products are successful or not.

The company is working with partners to expand what the smartwatches can be used for, including car and room keys, and to remotely control a connected home. The Gear S2s also have onboard NFC to enable mobile payments. At the Berlin rollout, the company also showed an Uber app, a SmartThings home automation app and a Nike fitness app.

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