Samsung tries again with Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches

Samsung Smartwatches Image copyright Samsung
Image caption The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches offer better battery life than Samsung's first smartwatch

Samsung has shown off the Gear 2, its second attempt at releasing a smartwatch that has mass appeal with consumers.

The company demonstrated the device along side another new model, the lighter Gear 2 Neo.

Both have a heart rate sensor, a pedometer and various tools to measure exercise, sleep and stress levels.

The watches run on Tizen OS, a fledgling mobile operating system, rather than Google's Android software.

The move is being seen as part of a wider strategy from Samsung to move away from Google's platform and to lessen its reliance on the search giant's product.

Crucial to Tizen's longer-term success will be whether it can attract the same breadth and quality of apps compared to Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Currently there are offerings from the likes of CNN, Ebay, Evernote and Paypal available on Tizen, as well as some slightly clunky but nonetheless functional workarounds that allow Android apps to run on the platform.


Image copyright Samsung
Image caption The Gear 2 has fitness tracking built in

At Barcelona's Mobile World Congress on Monday night, Samsung is expected to launch the latest iteration of its flagship smartphone range, presumably to be called the Galaxy S5.

The current model, the S4, has proved to be a hugely popular product for the South Korean firm, and is widely considered the only real rival to Apple's iPhone.

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches are companion devices to the Galaxy smartphones, although last year's model was poorly received by both critics and consumers.

Samsung will hope a number of enhancements will turn things around.

Firstly, the battery life of the new devices is considerably better. Samsung promises two to three days of power - much more than the charge-every-night issue suffered by the company's first effort.

The Gear 2's camera is now situated on the main body of the device, taking it away from the strap and removing some of the rigid bulk of the Galaxy Gear.

The Gear 2 Neo does not have a camera, but is 13g lighter as a result.

Samsung has heralded both devices as offering "freedom and style" - but despite bringing in extra design expertise, the watch still looks very much a technology product, rather than a fashion accessory.

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Media captionMark Gregory looks at what to expect from the annual Mobile World Congress

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