Samsung’s answer to the Apple Watch has a release date. Starting Friday, customers can breakout their wallets to purchase its latest smartwatch -- the Gear S2.
With its latest smartwatch, Samsung ditched the curved rectangular design of the Gear S, in favor of a stainless steel round case design that looks more like traditional analog watches. Users can navigate around through its apps through its touch screen, home and back button, and rotating bezel controls.
Owners of the Gear S2 can also use the smartwatch with the Samsung Pay mobile payment system, which uses near-field communication (NFC) for in-store purchases.
While the Gear S2 is compatible with Android smartphones, it doesn’t use Android Wear as its operating system. Instead the smartwatch is powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS. A number of apps are expected to be available at launch, including ones from Bloomberg, CNN, ESPN, Nike+ Running, Yelp and Samsung Milk Music, according to Samsung.
The Gear S2 will be available for purchase at select retailers, including Samsung.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy and Macy’s. Taking a page out of Apple’s playbook with standalone shops in department stores, Samsung will also give customers hands-on time with the Gear S2 at the Herald Square Macy’s in New York. An additional 50 Macy’s stores across the U.S. will also have demos available, starting on Oct. 16.
The silicone strapped Gear S2 retails for $299.99. The Gear S2 Classic, which comes with a leather strap, retails at $349.99. Cellular network connected models of the Gear S2 will also be available later this fall through AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
The Gear S2 joins a smartwatch market that is becoming increasingly crowded. And traditional watchmakers are expected to join in as well. Tag Heuer plans to debut its own $1,800 Android Wear smartwatch on Nov. 9, Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver told CNBC.