Charged Up: Samsung's Gear S2 love means it's now taking smartwatches seriously

It's also giving me reasons to be excited for the next Samsung Gear smartwatch

I have questioned for a long time whether Samsung's heart really has been in building a great smartwatch. Even when I think back to the first Samsung Gear Live, it always felt like it was just another case of, 'If Apple is doing it, well, we are going to do it as well'.

What followed was a succession of pretty mediocre smartwatches that felt like a mix-mash of ideas with no real clear vision of what a smartwatch should be, do or look like. A smartwatch was launched then forgotten about as Samsung swiftly moved onto the next one.

That seemed to change though when Samsung launched the Gear S2. Finally, a Samsung smartwatch you would want to wear with a simple and intuitive operating system. Also, rotating bezel FTW. It put Samsung in that small group of smartwatches that proved it didn't have to mention fruit in the name to be a smartwatch worth owning or taking notice of.

Essential reading: The best hybrid smartwatches to own

Even when the Gear S3 and the Gear Sport landed, the Gear S2 was not the forgotten smartwatch like the watches that came before it. The Gear S2 updates still keep on coming making both minor and major upgrades. These updates not only improved existing features but it also brought some over from the Gear S3 too. It got iPhone compatibility and the proper Spotify support that Fitbit, Apple, Wear OS and Garmin smartwatch owners are no doubt pining for.

This is obviously great news for anyone that has still kept hold of their Gear S2 and we don't blame you for not upgrading to the Sport or the Gear S3. The S2 is still a great smartwatch. This continued support tells me that Samsung is now ready to start taking this smartwatch-making business seriously. Maybe it's seeing genuine interest in what it can bring to the party, and while I admit I've not seen many Samsung smartwatches in the wild myself, there's clearly people out there buying them.

Ensuring that the latest versions of its Tizen operating system play nice with multiple smartwatches is refreshing to see and shows an appreciation that there are people that might want to upgrade their smartwatch every year. It also makes me more enthused to find out what it has in store with the Gear S4. We know it has a design formula that works and it's also building a collection of key third-party partners like Spotify to strengthen its ecosystem and help give it the upper hand over its rivals.

Like the Apple Watch Series 4, there's big talk of increased health features and improved smart assistant support. But what is still happening with the Gear S2, a smartwatch that was unveiled almost three years ago, makes me feel optimistic that whatever Samsung unveils this year, it will have something that will excite, innovate and prove it can deliver something compelling for the wrist. It's no longer just about making up the numbers, which was definitely the case before the Gear S2 was on the scene.


1 Comment

  • scatterthought says:

    "If Apple is doing it, well, we are going to do it as well."

    I think your history is a little off. The Gear Live was released in June 2014, while the Apple watch was not formally announced until fall 2014, and didn't launch until April 2015.

    Go back further, and there were rumours of an Apple smartwatch in 2013. Meanwhile, Samsung was actually selling the first Galaxy Gear. Since then, Samsung has put more thought and effort into the smartwatch than any other major tech company, and we've seen it in the variety of devices they've sold.

    It's fine if you don't like what they've done up until now, but let's not change history to reinforce the "everyone copies Apple" mantra.

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