The company’s early entrance into the smartwatch space — with last year’s Galaxy Gear — generally failed to impress (well, apart from TC’s own Matt Burns), with reviewers complaining that, well, the device couldn’t do a whole lot.
Which is where app makers and today’s SDK comes in.
The debut Galaxy Gear was based on Android but Samsung has switched to its own Tizen platform for two of the sequel devices. Presumably because it feels more confident in attracting interest from the Tizen developer community than from the Android developer masses, who have no shortage of other hardware to target.
That and improving the Gear’s battery life — which has apparently been boosted to up to six days for light usage, or two to three for normal usage (a 3x increase over the first-gen device, according to Samsung).
The Gear 2 and Gear Neo include a bevy of sensors, including accelerometer, gyro, heart rate monitor and pedometer, which developers can tap into — while the Gear 2 also includes direct TV connectivity via a built-in IR blaster.
The Gear 2 is also compatible with 16 different devices in the Galaxy line-up, vs the solo device the original Gear could talk to — which gives developers more of an incentive to get involved with this second generation of Samsung wearables.
It’s not clear exactly how many apps the pair of sequel smartwatches have at this point, but Samsung flags up 23 that are already available for the Gear 2 — although one of those it names is Spritz’s speed reading software which is integrated into the native email application (so isn’t really a standalone app).
Other standalone third-party apps include Runtastic’s fitness tracker app; Sleep Genius, an app designed to track sleep cycles and improve sleep quality by waking the user gradually; iHeartRadio streaming radio app; Vivino’s wine info app that makes use of the smartwatch’s camera; and EasilyDo, an events reminder app.
Working out what sort of apps make sense for a wrist-based use-case is obviously priority one for developers, with fitness/health themes continuing to dominate early wearables — as you’d expect, given screen size constraints and the core worn-on-the-person characteristic.