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Samsung's New Smartwatches Add Fitness Features, New OS

To prevent Google from having a similar dominance in wearable devices and other gadgets beyond phones and tablets, Samsung is pushing Tizen OS as an alternative.

But before Tizen can take off, Samsung needs the new Gear to be a success.

The original Gear worked with selected Samsung phones to display email and text alerts. It also had a camera on the strap for low-resolution photos and a speakerphone on the watch to make calls, Dick Tracy-style. The Gear's 1.6-inch screen keeps the watch small enough -- at least for men -- to work as a fashion accessory. Straps came in six colors.

The device had many shortcomings, however.

Its $300 price tag was 50% higher than what Sony (SNE) charges for its SmartWatch 2. And the Gear worked only with selected Samsung phones, while watches from Sony and Qualcomm (QCOM) work with a greater pool of Android devices from a variety of manufacturers.

In addition, app selection on the Gear was limited, while the apps that were available fell short on functionality. Although the Gear was supposed to offer quick access to information so you don't have to constantly pull out your phone, many of the alerts simply tell you to return to the phone to read a new message.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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