To say Samsung has been aggressive in the emerging smartwatch market would be an understatement. After updating the Gear watch about six months after the original, the company is today launching yet another iteration, this time running the much more functional Android Wear.
The Samsung Gear Live sports the design language that we saw in Samsung's previous smartwatches, including a bezel curving above and below the screen, only now it puts Android Wear on the inside. Google's new wearable platform is by far the most advanced smartwatch software we've seen to date, going far beyond the notifications and rudimentary apps we've seen on other platforms. For more on Android Wear, you can hit up our coverage of today's announcement.
The Gear Live also sports the same screen as previous Gear watches, measuring 1.63-in with 320 x 320 resolution. Like the last batch of Gears, it also sports a heart rate sensor. The Live's processor gets a boost over the previous watches, though, to handle the more advanced platform (its CPU is clocked at 1.2 GHz). It will ship in either black or wine red colors, and you'll be able to swap their default bands for any standard 22 mm strap.
It isn't yet clear how – if at all – the Gear Live will differentiate itself from Android Wear rivals like the LG G Watch and Moto 360, apart from its heart rate sensor. Samsung's Gear watches marked bold first entries into the new product category, but, with very techy designs and extremely limited software, they had limited mass market appeal. It will be interesting to see if some more fully-baked software will help the Live to take off. If nothing else, you can bet Samsung's marketing machine is locked, loaded and ready to try to blast the watch to the front of the Android Wear pack.
The Gear Live will be available for order later today from Google Play for US$200. Considering Samsung's original Galaxy Gear and Gear 2 retailed for $300, it looks like some healthy competition among Android Wear OEMs could work to customers' benefit.