vlcsnap-2015-08-19-17h11m57s222Last week, Samsung held a big conference in New York. While many anticipated the announcements of the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+, the company also teased a new upcoming device — the Samsung Gear S2. This new smartwatch looks nothing like the Samsung Gear S. It’s a smaller, more fashionable watch that will go head-to-head against the Apple Watch.

Samsung just released the short teaser video from the conference (embedded above) on its YouTube channel today. Other than that, the company didn’t say much about the smartwatch, except that we should learn more at its IFA press conference at the very beginning of September. So let’s talk a bit about the video.

As you can see, Samsung switched to a round casing and a metal band. We can spot a few watch-optimized apps in the video — a weather app, a time zone app, a stopwatch app and a sports-tracking app. The Gear S2 also seems to come with a heart-rate sensor. This watch face features complications with little snippets of information — in this case, your heart rate and your next meeting

Overall, this device is a big departure from the Gear S. The 3G radio was one of the most important features of the first iteration — you could make calls from your watch without relying on your phone. You could also text from your wrist with a tiny onscreen QWERTY keyboard. It will be hard to squeeze a keyboard on a rounded smartwatch.

Even the design elements don’t look the same. On the Gear S2, the icons are rounded and more polished. While Apple doesn’t hold a patent on rounded icons, it’s interesting that Samsung switched to rounded icons following the Apple Watch release.

It’s unclear whether the Gear S2 runs Tizen or a heavily customized version of Android Wear with a bunch of Samsung apps built in. Finally, these mockups don’t tell how big the Gear S2 is. I hope that it won’t be as bulky as the Gear S.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.52.31 AMBack in May a teaser leaked for the upcoming successor to Android Lollipop (Android 5.0-5.1), dubbed Android “M”.  At the time I dug into all the possible dessert themes and boldly concluded that Marshmallow was the second most likely title (ahead of “milkshake” but behind “meringue”).  Later that month at Google Inc.’s (GOOG) big developer event I/O, Android M got previewed extensively, but as with Android ‘L’, Google stayed tight lipped about the branding.

The mystery came to a close this week, when Google unveiled a new statue on its campus of an Android hugging a Marshmallow.  The image comes from an official source — Google WebGL/Chrome browser engineer Bradon Jones:  So Android 5.2  — or possibly Android 6.0 — will be known as Marshmallow.  It will bring a modest overhaul that includes improvements to NFC payments, support for Google Tab functionality in third-party apps, new power saving tuning (“Doze”), and support for USB type-C charging/data-transfer cables in new devices.

Android M is rumored to launch with a handful of flagship “Nexus” models, as Google has done with past versions of Android.  Among those are rumored to be 5.2 and 5.7-inch smartphones (or phablets, depending on your prefered terminology).  The smaller Android M Nexus phone is rumored to be made by LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575).  It reportedly appeared in a recent picture leak, although the authenticity of the image remains debatable:  The large 5.7-inch model is rumored to be made by China’s Huawei Technologies, which should be interesting given the regulatory scrutiny the Chinese OEM has received in the past from the U.S. government (Congress went as far as to suggest a ban on U.S. sales of Huawei devices over spying concerns back in 2012).

Both the rumored smartphones are expected to pack fingerprint scanners and USB type-C connectivity/charging.  Little is known about them otherwise, although the above leaked image suggests the LG model will feature some sort of plastic case vaguely resembling the iconic look of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) inherited Lumia line.

Android Marshmallow is widely expected to launch this fall.  It will be the first major release of Android under Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai, who served as head of Android from 2012 until the time of his promotion.  Alongside his ascension to CEO, the prior CEO Larry Page, has been boosted to CEO of Alphabet, the holding company who owns Google and fellow sister company spinoffs.  Given that Pichai has been steering the project for the past few years, though, expect little to change in terms of Google’s patient and proven strategy from past releases. – See more at: http://www.dailytech.com/Google+Reveals+Next+Dessert+Title+Android+Marshmallow/article37468.htm#sthash.3o7SgdD3.dpuf

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