While they generally tend to make far fewer headlines than full Android version smartphone updates, major smartwatch software renovations can be just as important for their still limited user base. In a way, they could even be considered more valuable, since both the Android Wear and Tizen experience remain rather rudimentary and phone-dependent.
Case in point, Samsung’s late 2015-debuted Gear S2, first refreshed with a substantial “Value Pack” back in July, and again today, December 5, in “major markets”, worldwide availability following in the “coming weeks.”
Granted, we wouldn’t exactly deem this 130MB or so update quite as feature-packed as Google’s delayed Android Wear 2.0 goodie kit headed for a number of Gear S2 rivals in early 2017. But it’s still a pretty big deal.
Changelog highlights include “more opportunities to personalize your smartwatch and add to its convenience”, a new Handwriting Mode in Korean, English or Chinese for Gear S2’s native Messages app, advanced activity tracking functionality, third-party widgets from Uber, Yelp and USA Today, “streamlined” safety, as well as access to fun little games like Stack or Monster Vampire.
In a nutshell, you’re basically getting the Gear S3’s user interface, experiences and all preloaded watch faces at a lower price point. Namely, $250 in a standard configuration on Amazon, or $300 as far as the Samsung Gear S2 Classic is concerned. Too bad the Samsung Pay beta program is still not open for Galaxy outsiders on Gear S3’s revised predecessor.
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