Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch hasn't even gone retail and there's already talk of a second-generation unit currently in the works. Granted, development of the next version isn't surprising given how tech companies churn out refreshes each year; what's surprising is that this latest rumor suggests a 1Q 2014 release.
Unnamed sources in Korea claim that not only is Samsung cranking out the Galaxy Gear 2, but it could be announced either during CES 2014 in January or during Mobile World Congress 2014 in February. Both seem highly unlikely at this point, but the company did recently indicate that the current Galaxy Gear is the first of many models in the works, so the rumored dates could be possible.
"We generally make several hundreds of designs, and even after we make the final decision we refine it several hundred times," said Dong-hoon Chang, executive vice president and head of the design strategy team at Samsung corporate. "I cannot give you the exact numbers [of Galaxy Gear designs considered], but it’s in the number of three digits."
The announcement of the current Galaxy Gear was rather disappointing given that it's only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, and the S3 and S4 after the Android 4.3 update. The name should have been a big clue, but surprising nonetheless given Sony's competing SmartWatch 2, which launched on September 9, isn't brand specific.
Samsung's new Galaxy Gear 2 watch reportedly won't be quite so limited. Sources claim that the smartwatch may be compatible with all Android smartphones, and could even sport GPS functionality. If that's indeed the case, expect a device that may be lacking features that only a Samsung Galaxy phone/tablet/smartwatch relationship can provide. The sequel watch may even cost less.
The current Galaxy Gear device will be launched alongside the Galaxy Note 3 in more than 140 countries starting September 25. AT&T began accepting pre-orders on Monday while T-Mobile will begin on Wednesday. Both follow Verizon Wireless, which began taking pre-orders for a $600 bundle and a two-year contract. The smartwatch is expected to sell for around $299.