Samsung confirmed at its Samsung Unpacked event in August, in which it unveiled the Galaxy Note 5 and the S6 edge Plus, that the there was more to come in the near future, and then it quickly showed off a round smartwatch.
It's no secret that Samsung has a new smartwatch in the works. Originally codenamed Samsung Orbis, it was then reported to have the name Samsung Gear A. At the end of its Unpacked presentation, Samsung said the new device will actually be called the Gear S2. It then gave us our first glance at the round interface.
Samsung has since announced the watch, even though it is due to be unveiled at the annual IFA trade show in Berlin on 3 September. If you want to know more about Samsung's next smartwatch, Pocket-lint has combed through all the tidbits, and we've laid out everything you need to know below.
Samsung Gear S2 release date
There was speculation of an MWC 2015 launch, then of a CTIA appearance in September, but Samsung has confirmed that the launch date for the Samsung Gear S2 will be 3 September 2015.
The launch venue will be IFA 2015 in Berlin. The huge technology conference has seen a number of high-profile Samsung launches in the past - including the Galaxy Note family of devices. Now it's set to be the venue for the launch of Samsung's latest wearable, the Samsung Gear S2.
Samsung has set the stage and issued the invites, so everything is set for the big reveal on 3 September.
Samsung Gear S2 price
As for pricing, not much information has surfaced; some sites have suggested it'll cost around £329. That was the original price of the Gear S, although the existing device has now taken a price cut down to £279.
Pricing will be critical for the Gear S2 to be competitive. Android Wear devices top out at £259 for the LG Watch Urbane, and the Apple Watch starts at £299, so stepping over the £300 mark would be a big turn-off for potential customers.
Samsung Gear S2 design
Samsung's stance seems to be one of fashion. We've heard similar from Huawei and LG talking about making fashion statements through a round smartwatch - as well as Apple's heavy fashion approach with the Watch - and Samsung's lookbook is littered with these sorts of statements.
Samsung has also confirmed the watch will be available in two different options. The first model, simply called Gear S2, is for "on-the-go" people who prefer minimal and modern design. It has a dark gray case with a matching band or silver case with a white band. The second model is called Gear S2 classic.
The classic version has more of a "timeless watch design" and features a black finish with a matching leather band. The classic previously surfaced via a leaked listing in Samsung's own site code. Since this was the only leak about this second model, most reports correctly assumed there would only be small cosmetic variations.
As had been rumored previously, the new smartwatch is going to feature a mostly-metal casing. Samsung's tease at Unpacked in August seemed to confirm that the watch will be metal.
It's been suggested that the Gear S2 will feature a digital crown and a bezel ring for navigation purposes, allowing navigation with a twist of the bezel, rather like the rotational bezel of traditional divers watches. This has been hinted at by some of Samsung's software leaks, but couldn't be determined from the images we've seen do far.
That said, in a press release, Samsung confirmed the Gear S2 has a rotating bezel and two buttons (dubbed Home and Back), which users will be able to take advantage of in order to navigate as well as access notifications and apps.
A Samsung executive recently posted a photo of himself wearing the yet-to-be-released wearable to his Instagram account. He captioned the image with the following: "Giving the new Samsung Gear S2 a test drive."
Dennis Miloseski, the executive who posted the photo, is the vice president and the studio head for Samsung Design America. His photo is one of the best looks we've been able to get of the device. It's not a render or a still from a teaser trailer; it's a filter-heavy Instagram snap. And we appreciate it.
Samsung Gear S2 specs and features
While teasing a round watch face on its Samsung Exynos Twitter account in June, Samsung hinted it developed a Exynos-powered round smartwatch. The company's tweet had the following caption: "Using your Heart Rate, your Exynos-powered wearable can deliver accurate training information to help you improve."
Samsung's Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo were both Exynos-powered, while the Gear Live and Gear S had Snapdragon 400 chips. None of those devices are round, so it's interesting that Samsung would couple a tweet about Exynos-powered wearables with a graphic that clearly depicts a round smartwatch interface.
Another spec leak also seems to confirm that the Gear S2 will be Exynos-powered. SamMobile combed through leaked specs in the SDK that Samsung released and has claimed the watch will feature a 1.2GHz Exynos 3472 dual-core processor. Samsung has been enjoying successes with Exynos in its smartphones, so it makes sense to continue with its own hardware in its next wearable.
When announcing the Gear S2 in late August, Samsung didn't mention whether the watch is Exynos-powered, though it confirmed the watch will feature a 1.0-GHz dual core processor and 4GB internal memory.
Super AMOLED display, built-in GPS, and more
Samsung has confirmed the Gear S2 is just 11.4-mm thin and features a 1.2-inch circular screen with a 360x360-pixel resolution (302 ppi). It also features NFC for payments, 3G wireless connectivity, and e-SIM (which will let you a place calls and perform some tasks without your phone nearby). Awesome, right?
SamMobile claimed the watch will have a Super AMOLED display (360 × 360-pixel resolution), and that it'll be 1.18-inch diameter with a 305ppi. Other rumoured specs include 450MHz Mali-400 MP4 GPU, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of on-board storage, 250mAh battery, and support for Bluetooth 4.1 (to connect with mobile devices).
A second variant of the Gear S2 is thought to uniquely have Wi-Fi Direct and 802.11 b/g/n support, while both variants are expected to launch with built-in GPS, accelerometer, gyro, barometer, and heart rate sensors.
SamMobile reported that the Gear S2 should feature wireless charging out of the box. This is likely to be some sort if inductive charging, which is common to most smartwatches on the market already. Whether Samsung will be aiming for wider compatbility with WPA and PMA standards remains to be seen.
However, the reports of a 250mAh battery have us a little concerned. That's not especially high, with most existing Android Wear devices having 400mAh batteries, which seems to be the average and will just about get through the day. It could easily have been misreported, as we'd expect a higher capacity battery from the Gear S2.
Samsung has only said the battery should last 2-3 days on a single charge. Also, to charge, you'll simply place the Samsung Gear S2 on a wireless charging dock right out of the box.
The Gear S2 will run Tizen with a new UX for the circular screen. We saw some early images of a round interface from SamMobile and from the leaked SDK. Also, we've now seen a lot more following the Unpacked teasers.
The company's SDK for developers on its website and apps featured within the site tease some partners that must have already developed apps for the round watch. We can see CNN, Yelp, Baidu for the Chinese market, FidMe, and Apposter, for instance. From the details, it is unclear if Samsung's first round watch will need a phone or be a stand-alone.
When Samsung teased the Gear S2, it showed a circular smartwatch with an unfamiliar interface. The company has since confirmed the watch will run Tizen rather than Android Wear.
Within Samsung's teased images, there are apps like a Nike+ running app, alongside familiar icons for things like S Planner and S Health. We've also been treated to views of weather apps, heart rate apps and plenty more.
The Gear S2 might even be equipped with a heart-rate sensor, though Samsung has only said it will feature a 24-hour activity log, which lets users view daily activity progress and patterns at a glance, as well as the ability to receive reminder updates in order to help you stay on track with your fitness goals.
Samsung's teaser video seems to show different watch apps lined up along the inner ring of the watch face - and then how to toggle through them, one by one, as if you were trying to get to an app to select. It's hard to tell if this is just an animation or an example of how you would actually go about selecting an app.
Samsung has confirmed the Gear S2 will feature NFC for mobile payments.
Reports from Korea first suggested Samsung will boast a NFC-powered mobile payments feature in its next smartwatch. It's assumed such a feature would work with Samsung Pay, the mobile payment service that Samsung has just launched.
With NFC payments on the Apple Watch, it's easy to see how Samsung could make this step with its own device and Samsung Pay launched on 20 August in Korea, lands on 28 September in the US and will also be coming to UK, Spain and China in the bear future. It's easy to see how this could be incorporated into Samsung Gear S2 as well.
Biosignal ID system
That said, a patent from March verfied that Samsung has been working on a biosignal ID system for smartwatch payments. The feature would authenticate your identity - in order to allow mobile payments directly from the smartwatch - by taking a biosignal reading when you want to pay for something.
Patents don't always come to fruition though, so don't place any bets on this feature.
Want to know more?
Keep your eye on this feature that we'll be updating as more becomes know. With the Samsung Gear S2 due for launch in September, there isn't long to wait for Samsung's next smartwatch.