Samsung teases round Gear S2 smartwatch

Engadget:

Samsung has dropped a surprise at its Unpacked 2015 event by showing off a new Gear S2 smartwatch. The model appears to be a far cry from the original Gear S, however. Samsung has upped the style quotient considerably with a round watch face, metal body and new user interface. Given the naming convention (it lacks the “Galaxy” moniker that generally denotes Android), it likely runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS rather than Android Wear, like the original Gear S.

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Nintendo’s upcoming NX gaming console won’t run on Android

Nintendo has shot down rumors that its yet-to-be-unveiled NX gaming console would run on Android. Responding to a report by Japanese business daily Nikkei, a Nintendo spokesman said of the rumors, “There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX.”

Nikkei previously claimed that Nintendo’s hush-hush Wii U successor would run on the Google-developed operating system, citing sources familiar with the goings-on at the Kyoto-based gaming company’s headquarters. Those sources claimed that by adopting Android, Nintendo would “be able to tap into a deep pool of software developers already creating programs for mobile platforms.”

If the rumors had indeed been true, it would have marked the latest expansion for the OS as Android has gone from smartphones and tablets to televisions and wearables as of late.

HTC (Taiwan) teams up with Under Armour for a fitness wearable

HTC has announced it will be releasing its first wearable with the help of Under Armour, who will be supplying the tracking software for the fitness band. The waterproof Grip wrist band is the first in a series of co-branded products, and will feature a pedometer, GPS and an integrated “Record” tracking portal which aggregates sleep, steps, active time, distance, workouts, calories burned and weight. It can also be connected with a phone to receive and respond to notifications via the 1.8-inch curved monochrome touchscreen.

Though an official release date has yet to be announced, expect the HTC Grip to be available at select retailers in North America beginning in Spring 2015.

The Huawei Watch (China)

The new Huawei Watch looks less like a computer and more like a watch

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Many smartwatches have a tendency to look like a tiny computer on your wrist. But Huawei‘s first shot at the wearable looks more like a classic timepiece.

The Chinese manufacturer announced its entry into the smartwatch market on Sunday at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The Huawei Watch is an elegant circular watch that runs on Google’s Android Wear software. The company is targeting both men and women with the product, allowing users to personalize it based on colors (silver, black and gold), a variety of band options (for example, leather and stainless steel) and 40 different watch faces.

The Huawei Watch will launch by mid-2015, likely in June.

The AMOLED display is 42 mm in diameter, which, according to the company, is the most compact design that exists. This was to make it more appealing to both genders; typically, smartwatches skew more masculine-looking because of the limited size and style options. The display is protected with a sapphire crystal covering to prevent scratching, which is a nice touch. Many existing smartwatches on the market are protected with Gorilla Glass, but traditional watches typically come with sapphire crystal glass, which has a different look.

Huawei Watch

Like other smartwatches, the Huawei Watch will let wearers receive text messages, check email, receive phone call notifications, play with apps and view their calendars directly from the touchscreen. The device is powered by a Qualcomm 1.2GHz processor and syncs up with smartphones running Android 4.3 and higher. Under the hood, the Huawei Watch includes 4GB of storage, 512 MB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.1 compatibility.

Huawei Watch

 

The watch can also function as a fitness tracker; its sensor can tell whether a person is running, biking or sleeping, and tracks those stats, including calories burned, distance traveled and heart rate via its built-in heart rate monitor.

Huawei added that it will be building a “health and lifestyle ecosystem” to help users stay on top of their goals and progress, with the help of partners and app platforms like Jawbone.

The circular shape and the stainless steel frame is a nod toward traditional watches and a design that most consumers already consider more appealing. As we’ve noted previously, many smartwatches — including the Apple Watch, slated to be released in April — have square or rectangular-shaped designs, because it’s difficult to fit so much technology into a smaller, curved case. But Huawei does a striking job.The arrival of the Huawei Watch doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Manufacturers with roots in the smartphone industry like Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola have already invested big money and resources into developing a wearable, so it makes sense for Huawei to follow suit. The look of the watch isn’t a huge shocker, either; two promotional videos leaked online earlier in this weekend, which were pulled shortly after. A promotional ad for the watch was also spotted at the El Prat airport in Spain.

This isn’t Huawei’s first attempt at wearables. Last year, it launched the TalkBand 1, a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset hybrid.

The Huawei Watch has the potential to inch out competitors also banking on the circular look, like the Moto 360. However, unlike other competitors like the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch runs on Android Wear, which has gotten shaky reviews.

The Huawei Watch will launch in 20 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Pricing and availability has not been announced yet and will vary depending on the market, the company said.