The rumors are true: Samsung is ditching Android in the next version of its Gear smart swatch, replacing it with Tizen, and instead of seeing one new Gear we’re actually getting to two. Samsung confirmed the moves late Saturday — not your typical timing for big product announcements — when it officially announced details of the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo.
Samsung didn’t reveal much about either device, except a spec sheet and brief descriptions. We’re likely to learn much more about the devices early Monday when Samsung holds its press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where it’s also expected to give us a first look at the Galaxy S 5 smartphone.
The main difference between the two is that the Neo has no camera, while the Gear 2 has a 2.0 megapixel sensor mounted in the main body of the watch, which means the new devices can be customized with different straps. The Neo is also a wee bit bigger (just by one millimeter in width) and is about 13 grams lighter than the Gear 2.
The shift to Tizen is most interesting, though, since it means Samsung is overhauling its Gear platform just six months after launch. Samsung has been a big backer of Tizen, but while it’s begun using the OS in cameras, it hasn’t yet produced a Tizen phone. Nor has any device maker, for that matter.
But compatibility with Samsung’s Android-based smartphones doesn’t appear to be a problem. The device maker said when they’re commercially available in April, both watches would connect to multiple Samsung Galaxy smartphones.