We exclusively reported last week that the Gear S2 would get multiple new features with an upcoming software update. We also previewed the new softwarealong with all the new features and UX improvements. Samsung has now started pushing the update to the Gear S2 and you should be receiving it shortly.
The software update has a file size of 61.1MB and firmware versionR732XXU2DPFB (for the Gear S2 classic) or R730XXU2DPFB (for the Gear S2 Sport). It brings My Photo watch face, social sharing for activities, automatic sleep tracking, new S Voice commands, a new contacts app and widget, and other new features to the smartwatch.
You should read our Gear S2 update preview along, which contains screenshots of all the new features, to know more about the update. If you’ve installed the update already, which features do you think the Gear S2 is still missing?
The Washington Post has just released its first ever watch face for Samsung’s latest Tizen-powered smartwatch, the Gear S2. The face has been designed to provide political junkies with the most recent information from the US presidential election, including up-to-the-minute polling results and a live numeric countdown to election day.
“What we’ve learned from being on wearable devices is that users want to glance at their watches and get information quickly, so we designed a simple display of useful election data for the best small screen experience,” said David Merrell, Senior Mobile Product Manager at The Washington Post.
As you’d expect, the watch face is available to download for free directly from the Samsung Gear App Store. All you have to do is open up the application, tap the search field, type in The Washington Post, then download and install the very first app presented at the top of the results page.
Samsung Electronics is providing a useful new option that allows consumers to customize the appearance of their Gear S2 even more: the Gear S2 Band Adapter. With the Band Adapter, now the Gear S2 is compatible with standard 20mm watch straps, including the Gear S2 classic strap, greatly expanding the options users have for personalizing their wearable.
Available in both dark gray and silver, the lightweight stainless steel adapters are strong and durable, fitting seamlessly onto the Gear S2, giving the device a wider range of looks, including leather, metal and ceramic.
Currently the Gear S2 Band Adapter is on sale in Germany, Singapore and South Africa, but is soon expanding to more countries around the world.
Samsung’s Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic smartwatches have gained popularity for their combination of cutting-edge functionality, rotating bezel interface and wide range of customizable looks. Since the launch last October, Samsung and its partners have provideda variety of fashionable straps, with hundreds of different watch faces that users can choose from.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are in high demand, but the promotional deals from carriers has boosted sales even further. In the US, T-Mobile has given away a free year of Netflix. Verizon is called the Cadillac of Carriers (US, that is) and with good reason: instead of offering just a free Gear VR headset with customer pre-orders (initiated by Samsung), Verizon went one step further: it allowed customers to choose between a 1) free Gear VR headset with a 6-game bundle, or 2) a free Gear S2 smartwatch. We’ve been hearing about Gear VR orders in abundance, and have even seen a letter delaying the delivery of Gear VR headsets due to high demand. Now, unfortunately, it’s Verizon’s turn to disappoint customers.
A letter has been sent out today telling customers about the delay in Gear S2shipments: “Hello [name], Congratulations! Your submission has been approved. We will ship your Samsung Gear S2 to the mailing address you provided when registering for this Offer. Please note that due to the high level of interest in the Verizon Offer promotion, delivery times for Gear S2 are now extending into May and potentially Summer 2016. Once shipped, we will send you an email with your tracking number.”
Verizon Gear S2 promo recipients now join the list of free Gear VR customers who are still waiting for their shipments. In the case of free Gear VR recipients, however, Samsung is awarding a choice: you can 1) wait for your free Gear VR or 2) you can take a $100 credit and use it to buy anything in Samsung’s online retail store atSamsung.com.
The Gear S2 is certainly worth the wait. So far, it is Samsung’s best smartwatch to date, boasting a circular body that mimics the look and feel of luxury watches, Samsung’s trademark Super AMOLED display, a Rotary UI with a rotating bezel (a feature that should be imitated by other OEMs). Recently, Samsung has updated the Gear S2 to add a new ESPN watch face, a new World Clock widget, as well as an auto-open app feature that uses eye detection to open the app you want.
Recipients of Verizon’s Gear S2 should know that they are getting a cellular-data version that can be activated with 3G connectivity for just $5 a month by following the steps on the smartwatch itself.
Verizon free Gear S2 recipients, are you disappointed by the new delay in delivery time for your favorite smartwatch? Do you think it’s worth waiting for? Still glad you picked up the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge?
Samsung has announced that there are now four times as many Gear S2 apps available than at the smartwatch’s launch during IFA 2015. The South Korean smartphone giant is trying to launch as many apps on its first round smartwatch as possible to compete with the Apple Watch and other Android Wear-based smartwatches.
It is interesting to see that Samsung calls watch faces as “apps” in its press release, and that seems to be the most popular app category among Gear S2 owners. Samsung has also mentioned that convenience apps are the next popular app category, and the Tizen-based wearable platform already has apps from Uber, KLM, and Iberia.
Fitness training and activity tracking apps like the company’s S Health as well as third-party apps like Nike+ Running and Skimble’s Workout Trainer are available for the Gear S2. Samsung also gave a shoutout to Bubble Bash, a game that is designed specifically for the company’s latest smartwatch.
We reported a few days ago that Gear S2 iOS support is likely to arrive via an update later this month. It was back in December last year when we exclusively confirmed that Samsung has started working on a Gear Manager app for iOS and in January this year Samsung officially confirmed that the Gear S2 will get iOS support in 2016.
Verizon has updated its support page for the Gear S2 to show that an update will be arriving for the smartwatch tomorrow which will bring a fix for a random clock freeze as well as support for iOS and Marshmallow. Software version R730VVRU1BPC1 is what Verizon will release for the Gear S2 and it will enable the smartwatch to be paired with iPhones running iOS 8.4 or later. It remains to be seen if this particular update widely rolls out tomorrow or if Verizon is breaking from tradition and is actually being rather quick about releasing updates.
The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) revolution is no longer limited to the world of arts and crafts. From cars to clothes and even smart device user interfaces, the DIY method can be applied to just about anything you care to mention. It is often a perfect means of adding a touch of your own personality to something.
In response to this trend, Samsung has developed the Gear Watch Designer—a program that allows you to make your own unique watch face. It is easy to use and requires neither expert knowledge nor coding skills.
Five of the Gear Watch Designer’s key developers explained more about what makes the program “tick.”
DIY Watch Faces Made Easy with the Gear Watch Designer
Previously, non-developer Gear S2 users were not able to personalize watch faces based on their unique preferences, much less share their designs with others.
But the introduction of the Gear Watch designer has changed that.
“In the beginning, we intended to create the Gear Watch Designer as a utility program to help developers. But as we progressed, the general consensus was that it would be better to make a designer-oriented program,” said Young Jae Min, Senior Designer of the UX team.
As a result, the team developed the Gear Watch Designer to allow designers to better express themselves, even if they lacked development expertise.
The Gear S2 maximizes customization, so that users can directly configure its hardware or software, and edit functions according to their tastes. And the Gear Watch Designer only enhances these customization features yet further.
With the program, you can easily add and arrange calendar, heart rate or daily fitness information directly to the watch face, for example.
You can also fully express yourself by customizing the index, hour hand, minute hand and second hand in the colors and styles just as you desire, all the while checking to ensure the designs function properly as you edit them.
It has only been a short few months since the Gear Watch Designer was launched as a beta version, in December last year on the Samsung Developers website. However, a number of users have already since shared their own unique watch face creations with the Gear Watch Designer’s online community.
“In the beginning, we intended to make the program simple. However, over the course of its development, it has become more complex as the team has diversified its ideas,” said Moo Chang Kim, Senior Engineer of the Tizen R&D Team.
This rather unique development process, in which the team constantly and collectively brainstorms and shares ideas, has allowed the Gear Watch Designer to advance consistently and in a multitude of ways.
“It has been interesting to gradually expand this project by incorporating our ideas,” explained Hyung Jo Yoon, Senior Engineer of the Tizen R&D Team. “It was a refreshing and novel experience to be able to share ideas between multiple departments in pursuit of a single goal.”
Boundless Creative Potential
While anyone can use the Gear Watch Designer to make their own watch face, graphic designers in particular can let their creativity run wild by using their own images as part of the program. As such, the team focused on making the Gear Watch Designer as user-friendly as possible so that designers could use it with great ease.
However, as the developers were not all designers themselves, they explain that they found it difficult to find flaws and limitations in the program before they actually launched the beta version.
“We actively encouraged designers to start use the program when it reached the 60-70 percent completion mark,” explained Sang Min Jung, Senior Engineer of the Tizen R&D Team. “We then proceeded to hold contests internally, through which we were able to improve the tool based on employee feedback.”
Thanks to feedback and regular inter-departmental brainstorming sessions, the Gear Watch Designer soon developed into a more complete experience.
As a result, the program now boasts a number of familiar tools specifically aimed at designers, such as animation functions and graphic interfaces. Even more useful functions will be added in the future in the form of updates.
Both experienced graphic designers and keen amateurs can use the Gear Watch Designer with ease, a fact that has led to more and more people sharing their watch face designs online. In fact, some of the most popular of the paid watch faces available were created using the Gear Watch Designer.
“The Gear Watch Designer has allowed for some significant developments, allowing designers to directly create an end product without the help of developers,” said Sang Hyun Park, Principal Designer of the UX design. “As a UX designer, it’s rewarding to design for the product itself. It’s also very meaningful to be able to create tools that encourage other designers in different fields to create their own designs.”
On March 11, Samsung hosted a workshop at the California College of Arts, UCLA, focusing on watch face design using the Gear Watch Designer. Around 30 design students participated in the event, creating their own unique watch faces using the program.
The team will also showcase the program’s various functions at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC), to be held from April 26 to 28 in San Francisco, California.
We announced earlier that Samsung has unveiled the Gear S2Rose Gold and Platinum models in the US at Amazon, but Dutch customers have had their hands (or wrists, rather) on these new luxury Gear S2 models for some time. For those customers, and for those to come, Samsung has released a new update for the Gear S2, bringing two new watch faces, one each for ladies and gentlemen. These new watch faces are only for Samsung’s Special Edition Gear S2 models, according to the update, so this may be a limited rollout for customers who’ve purchased either the Gear S2 Classic Rose Gold or the Gear S2 Classic Platinum. The Gear S2 update brings the build number to BOL6 from the former AOKK and weighs 23.16MB in size. Alongside of the new watch faces, Samsung has improved the S Health UX for measuring heart rate.
We’re glad to see Samsung push out additional watchfaces that enhance customization for these customers, but we’re anxiously awaiting the release of a new update that brings even more watchfaces for regular and special editions alike.
The update is rolling out to both the regular and classic Gear S2.
After Samsung unveiled the Gear S2 and the Gear VR wearable devices last year, they were made available in the European markets as well as in the US. We were doubtful about the availability of these devices in India, especially the Gear S2 since the original Gear S didn’t sell well in the country.
It looks like Samsung is all geared up to launch these wearables in India this month. According to PhoneRadar, Samsung will launch the Tizen-powered Gear S2 smartwatch in India along with the Gear VR later this month, and we can confirm that the company has been developing Gear S2 firmware for the Indian market, so it is possible that the report might be true.
Samsung recently announced its plans to launch the dual-SIM variant of the Galaxy Note 5 in the country after looking at increasing demand for mid-range smartphones with two SIM card slots. The company might also launch the Galaxy A (2016) series of smartphones in India in the coming weeks.
The Gear S2 is Samsung’s latest smartwatch to hit the market and, as fits the normal consumer expectation of the latest device having advantages over the former, it has a few advantages over the 2014 Gear S. One such feature that Samsung has made its trademark in 2015 is wireless charging – and the Gear S2, like the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, and the Galaxy Note 5, boasts the technology.
Depending on where your perspective falls, you may either 1) embrace wireless charging, 2) hate it, or 3) have no affection toward it whatsoever, but there’s one reason why you may appreciate it in the Gear S2: wireless charging prevents the Gear S2 from having the charging cradle wear and tear problem of the Gear S (or the Gear Live, which had a similar charging cradle that managed to damage some units).
I purchased my Gear S 3G model last December, a week and a half before Christmas to be exact, and loved it. Everything worked as I’d hoped, and the charging cradle freed me from having to rely on charging wires when the battery died. The charging cradle is Samsung’s way of allowing consumers to have a charging setup on the go whereby they can have as much as four days on a single charge before finally being forced to place the Gear S on the charging cradle. The charging cradle comes with an adapter that must charge the cradle but isn’t necessary to charge the watch – unlike the first smartwatch in the series, the Galaxy Gear, that mandated the use of the adapter along with the charging cradle for each smartwatch charge.
At the same time, however, the Gear S charging cradle frees the user from wires when giving your smartwatch an extra 2 days or so of juice but must be snapped onto the back of the Gear S. The constant “snapping” from one charge to another has a wear-and-tear effect on the Gear S charging cradle: while it works for a while, nearly a year down the line if not sooner, you’ll start to notice that the charging cradle doesn’t snap as easily on the back of the Gear S as it once did. Pretty soon, you’ll get to a place where you can no longer snap the charging cradle into place – as I learned nearly two weeks ago.
Now, going out to buy a new charging cradle isn’t all that expensive (they’re easily affordable), but Samsung’s new Gear S2 smartwatch with its wireless charging does complicate the decision to get a new Gear S charging cradle; after all, some say, why deal with another cradle that may break in 10 months when you can buy a new Gear S2 that lets you charge your smartwatch wirelessly – without snapping a cradle onto the back of the watch? You need only sit down the watch on the charging unit and watch it charge without worrying about placement, position, or “snapping” actions. The end result is that the Gear S2’s wireless charging unit will not need replacement after 10 months or so — you’ll not only enjoy the Gear S2 more but are far more likely to stick with it for another year or two, or three. Even in the fast-paced tech world in which we live where technology progresses at the speed of light, longevity is never a bad thing.
This is not to say that the Gear S is a terrible product, because it isn’t. I cannot wait to replace my Gear S charging cradle and start using my most recent favorite smartwatch yet on my wrist again. What this does show us, however, is that Samsung has given more thought and attention to the problems that plagued customers in last year’s smartwatch model. Contrary to what some have said, the Korean giant does not just toss products out on the market without giving careful thought and consideration to them. Samsung wants your customer loyalty and satisfaction, and any company that wants to remain profitable and relevant desires the same.