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Samsung's original Galaxy Gear smartwatch drops Android for Tizen

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Samsung's first generation of smartwatches is officially ditching Android. SamMobile reports that the original Galaxy Gear is being upgraded to Tizen, the operating system used on the newer Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (but not the Gear Fit, yet another model released this spring.) Samsung has made a point of differentiating its software from stock Android — its various Android smartphones are loaded with design tweaks — but in this case, the main difference will be in added features; we and other reviewers found that the Tizen interface looked and operated very much like the Android one.

According to SamMobile, the update brings most of the Gear 2's new capabilities over to the Galaxy Gear. Most notably, that means the old Android step-counter now tracks sleep patterns and more detailed exercise measurements, a standalone music player can store music to be synced with Bluetooth headphones, and battery life should be noticeably better. Features based on Gear 2 hardware, like the heart rate monitor or remote control app, obviously aren't included. The change apparently isn't rolling out over the air at this point, but it's available through SamMobile and the Kies software update tool.