Keeping old models will fill out the wearable lineup.
When the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic are released later this year, they won't be taking store shelf space away from the Gear S2 — all four watches will sit together along with the Gear Fit 2 as important components of Samsung's wearable ecosystem. Going a step further, the Gear S2 models will also be receiving an update by the end of the year with all of the new features being shown off on the Gear S3s — and considering that the Gear S2's hardware is more than capable even a year on, they should be able to handle the software just fine.
As a quick refresher, here's the breakdown of the specs of the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic, and how they compare to the Gear S2:
|Category||Gear S3||Gear S2|
|Screen size||1.3-inch circular AMOLED
Gorilla Glass SR+
|1.2-inch circular AMOLED
|Processor||Dual-core 1GHz Exynos||Dual-core 1GHz Exynos|
|Operating system||Tizen Wearable OS||Tizen Wearable OS|
|Battery||380 mAh||250 mAh|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, MST
LTE optional (Frontier)
|Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC
MIL-STD 810G (Frontier)
|Case size||46 mm||42 mm|
|Band size||22 mm||22 mm (Classic)|
|Dimensions||46 x 49 x 12.9 mm, 62 g (Frontier)
46 x 49 x 12.9 mm, 57 g (Classic)
|42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4 mm, 47g|
Naturally the Gear S2 and S2 Classic are expected to receive price cuts, making them more competitive options against many smartwatches that previously undercut them by anywhere from $50 to $100. Having the older models around also makes sense from a style perspective, with the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic going in a different direction from the more sporty Gear S2, and being notably larger than last year's models.
Price and size both factor into keeping the Gear S2 available
Anyone with smaller wrists or just a simpler taste will still be far better off getting the Gear S2 in terms of fit, without being worried about missing out on features — and you can save some money in the process. At the same time for the extra money there's a clear improvement in screen size and battery life on the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic, as well as some new designs that may speak to you.
With these five wearables all standing together, Samsung is going beyond the idea of just releasing one product and iterating it each year — with different update cadences and a diverse portfolio, it can hit an even wider market. That may just be the best shot it has to grow its market share in wearables.