Samsung has shown off the Gear S2 – a new smartwatch that addresses previous criticisms as well as looking mostly like a traditional timepiece.
The new watch still uses Samsung’ own operating system, Tizen, rather than the much more broadly-used Android Wear. But the company announced that it will be compatible with phones running recent versions of Android – meaning that it is not restricted to people who also own Samsung phones, as with earlier watches from the company.
The Gear S2 was one of a number of watches shown off at the IFA tradeshow that moved towards a circular face, like a traditional watch. Motorola launched a new Moto 360 at the event, and Huawei launched its own watch – both focusing as much on the looks and fashion focus as the technology.
The watch comes with a metal frame, and either a matching band or a “Classic” version that gives it a leather strap and looks mostly akin to traditional, non-smart watches.
Samsung built the new watch with a rotating frame, which lets users control the watch without touching the screen.
Like the Apple Watch, the Gear S2 lets owners pay by touching their watch against a card reader. That uses Samsung Pay, which is on its way to Korea and the US first but is expected to launch in the UK by next year.
The Gear S2 also has its own wi-fi connection. That means that it won’t rely on the phone that it is paired with, instead being able to check in on internet connections directly and being able to show notifications even without the phone being turned on.
"The Samsung Gear S2 is the most exciting smartwatch to date and offers customers a completely new wearable experience,” said Samsung Mobile’s Conor Pierce. “With an incredibly vibrant screen, it's the first-ever watch with voice capability and a host of connected features like being able to make calls without the need for a smartphone. You'll want to wear it from day to night as the ultimate fashion accessory."
The Gear S2 will launch in the UK in October.
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