Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest maker of smartphones, unveiled its first wearable devices that run on its own mobile operating system Tizen in Spain on Sunday, as it seeks to break its heavy reliance on Google Inc.'s Android software.
The unveiling of the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, Samsung's successors to the Galaxy Gear, which was released in September last year, also comes as the South Korean tech giant is struggling with a slowdown in its sales of high-end smartphones.
The two new wristwatches, unveiled a day before the Mobile World Congress starts its four-day run, are expected to hit shelves around the globe in April, Samsung said.
"Samsung continues to lead innovation in the wearable market by creating devices that are completely integrated into the lives of consumers through extended connectivity features, stylish customization options and a robust application ecosystem," Samsung said in a statement.
Samsung has been working on developing its own mobile platform along with Intel Corp. to counter the dominance of Google's free Android software. Samsung uses the Android platform for its Galaxy line of products.
The Gear 2 smartwatch features a 1.63-inch screen and basic 2.0-megapixel camera, and connects to Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and other gadgets via Bluetooth technology.
The Gear 2 Neo, which has no camera on its body, has the same panel size, but is lighter than the Gear 2 at 55 grams, according to Samsung.
Both devices have a lightweight design, while the Samsung Gear
2 comes equipped with a camera in the main body rather than the strap. Samsung has added new features to the devices such as remote home appliance control and a standalone music player function.
The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo also allow users to accept or ignore incoming calls and messages, and provide instant notification options based on a user's activity and habits.
Samsung Electronics accounted for 54 percent of the global smartwatch market in the second half of 2013, according to the data compiled by U.S.-based market researcher Canalys.
Samsung sold some 860,000 units of the Galaxy Gear during the July-December period. Japan's Sony Inc. and U.S. Pebble accounted for 19 percent and 16 percent of the market, respectively, during the cited period, the data also showed.
The tech giant is also set to release its next smartphone line-up at the trade show, presumably the Galaxy S5, which would come ahead of other rival high-end products to be rolled out by Apple Inc. and other smartphone makers. (Yonhap)