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Samsung plans to launch new Galaxy Gear models next week

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Samsung (STOCK)
Samsung (STOCK)

Samsung could take the wraps off multiple new Galaxy Gear wearables at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona next week, according to a source familiar with the company's plans. The announcements would come just half a year after the launch of the original Galaxy Gear, a smartwatch critically panned for lackluster battery life, an odd appearance, and a generally unintuitive interface.

Separately, USA Today reports that a new Galaxy Gear model will run Tizen, the carrier-friendly mobile operating system championed by Samsung that has yet to see commercial availability; the current Gear runs Android, suggesting that the company could be looking to move away from Google's platform across a number of different market segments. The Verge was unable to confirm that a Tizen-powered Gear would bow at the show, however.

Will it run Tizen?

Samsung is already widely expected to announced the Galaxy S5 next week — the latest version of its flagship smartphone, and arguably its single most important product — at the Barcelona event. In other words, MWC is shaping up to be a particularly big show for Samsung right as major consumer electronics firms have been focusing on their own events rather than trade expos, tightly-packed circuses where attention is spread thin among dozens of announcements.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others are widely believed to be working on wearables of their own, putting Samsung in the unusual position of potentially launching multiple generations of a product before its biggest competitors launch even one. That can be a major competitive advantage when the technology and design are executed well — but it can be an even bigger liability when the concept comes off rushed.