Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Samsung’s first smartwatches on Tizen unveiled

Reuters, SEOUL

Samsung Electronics Co was yesterday to unveil its first wearable smartwatch powered by its Tizen platform in the South Korean company’s latest attempt to distance itself from Google Inc and enhance its software and services.

Samsung has been jointly developing its mobile platform with Intel Corp, as the dominance of Google’s free Android software which Samsung uses for its Galaxy line of products, continues to grow and is now used in almost 80 percent of the global smartphone market.

The South Korean company was due to unveil two new smartwatches yesterday — less than six months after it introduced the Galaxy Gear wristwatch then running on Android — to prove that it is more than just a fast follower in innovation behind rival Apple Inc.

The Galaxy Gear wristwatch has been criticized for its clunky design and difficult-to-use features.

The launch also underscores Samsung’s desire to come up with new products to revive slowing momentum in its mobile business, the technology giant’s biggest earnings driver, as sales of high-end smartphones have eased in many advanced markets.

For the new Galaxy Gear 2 and Neo 2, which were unveiled at an annual trade fair in Barcelona yesterday, Samsung has not significantly upgraded the hardware on offer.

Instead, Samsung has moved a camera to the watch’s main body from the strap and added a couple of enhanced software offerings, such as remote TV controlling, fitness features like heart rate monitoring, as well as a standalone music player function, the technology giant said in a statement.

The Neo does not have a camera.

The new devices will go on sale globally in April, and will be followed by the announcement of Samsung’s new flagship smartphone today.

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