Samsung launched its first generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch back in September 2013. The $299 smartwatch launched with a heavily customized version of Android and wasn’t exactly well received by customers.
When Samsung launched the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches — sans Galaxy branding — this past February, it ditched Android altogether for its homegrown Tizen operating system. And it now looks as though Samsung is giving owners of the original Galaxy Gear the opportunity to switch over to Tizen as well.
SamMobile revealed that Samsung has released a Tizen 2.2.0 update for the original Galaxy Gear. The operating system overhaul won’t bring any drastic changes to the user interface, but it does bring the Galaxy Gear to [software] feature parity with the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (with the exception of the heart rate monitoring capabilities). Users will also benefit from a standalone music player and increased battery life.
You should be warned, however, that since this is a complete operating system overhaul, ALL of your existing data WILL be erased after performing the update. In addition, some of your third-party apps may not be compatible with Tizen.
For those that may be concerned that Samsung is looking to ditch Google altogether when it comes to wearables, remember that Samsung is still a launch partner for Google’s Android Wear platform. The company stated in April that it plans to launch an Android Wear-based smartwatch this year.