In the digital world, mobile devices have short lifespan and they won’t last more than a few years, in terms of usability and compatibility. Samsung will release the Galaxy S21 as their primary smartphone model in 2021. Unfortunately, the smartphone will no longer support Samsung’s older Gear smartwatches. A notification of Samsung Members app has warned users about this change. Although you can still use older Gear smartwatches, you can’t pair it with the Galaxy S21. These older Gear models include the original Gear 1, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit and Gear S. We can assume that the Gear S2 and Gear S3 will still support pairing with Galaxy S21. It means that all smartwatches models released in 2013 and 2014 won’t be compatible any longer with Samsung’s latest flagship.
Samsung will release the Galaxy S21 in January and it should have multiple variants at different price points and form factors. It should still support the Galaxy Watch 3 that Samsung unveiled earlier in 2020 and if you have it right now, it should see you through for a few years. If you prefer a lighter smartwatch, you may consider getting Galaxy Fit 2. It is perfectly understandable why manufacturers decide to discontinue support for their older devices. For some users, it could be quite disappointing to see their once favourite smartwatches slide into planned obsolescence. Meanwhile, Apple still provides full support for the first Apple Watch model, although Apple released it five years ago. Alternatively, if you want to continue using older Gear models, it is a good idea to choose other smartphones from Samsung.
There’s no confirmation whether Samsung’s mid-range and budget smartphone models in 2021 will also stop supporting older Gear devices. It means, you may choose Samsung’s more affordable new smartphones in 2021, if you plan to continue wearing the older Gear devices. This should be an acceptable solution for many users, because even a budget smartphone model is adequate for any casual mobile task. We could assume that Samsung’s decision is encourage people to purchase their newer smartwatches released in 2020 or later. For premium Samsung fans who want to use the newest models in the market, this decision shouldn’t affect them at all. Also, because older Gear smartwatches have much weaker hardware resources, they may no longer properly support newer software.
It is understandable why Samsung doesn’t want to provide indefinite support for all older devices, because that would be operationally inefficient. The Galaxy S5 was a premium and cutting-edge smartphone model in 2014, so we could have an idea why older Gear devices shouldn’t be used again by premium users. Also, the original Gear 3 smartwatch had some issues that resulted in a high rate of return rate. It has poor battery life, unreliable notifications and uncomfortable design. The Gear 2 was not much better. Samsung finally got it right in 2015 with the Gear S2, with its round design and twisting bezels. Previously, Samsung discontinued support for the Gear VR that came along with the Galaxy S6.