Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is missing in action - but it could still take on the Apple Watch 6

Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch (Image credit: TechRadar)

Some people were a little surprised that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 wasn't unveiled at the Galaxy S20 launch event on February 11; as of writing it's been a long time since the original Galaxy Watch launched, and smartwatch fans were hoping for a new iteration. But the lack of the device isn't just understandable, it was actually expected.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch launched in late 2018, and before that the Samsung Gear S3 came out in late 2016. It's clear, then, that the company employs two-year cycles with its smartwatches, releasing them at the end of the year, away from its Unpacked event and towards the Galaxy Note release.

That means we could see the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 release at the end of 2020, right around when we'd also expect to see the Apple Watch 6 release. Since the original Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch 5 currently sit at #1 and #2 of our list of the best smartwatches as of writing, that could lead to an interesting competition between top-end wearables.

We're not going to say that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 will definitely be released in competition with the Apple Watch 6 at the end of 2020, though, because there's a wildcard in the mix.

Samsung Galaxy Watch confusion

The Samsung Gear Sport was released in early 2017, and the Galaxy Watch Active in early 2019, so it seemed there was a similar bi-yearly pattern there... until the Galaxy Watch Active 2 was launched in late 2019, tearing up that schedule and throwing it to the wind.

Therefore we can't really predict what Samsung has planned for the Gear Watch Active 3, or whatever its next sports-centric smartwatch ends up being called. Unless the Watch Active 2 was a wildcard, the release date of the next version could be any time, possibly at the end of 2020, which could cause the Galaxy Watch 2 to have a different release date.

Call us creatures of habit, but tech media can be quite big fans of the regular yearly release schedule when it comes to phones, tablets and wearables, and Samsung's usually pretty good for a recurring pattern. That's why we're still hopeful of a Galaxy Watch 2 release before the end of 2020 (and also because the original is aging slightly now), despite what the Watch Active series has to say about it.

So if you're on the market for a great new smartwatch you might want to wait until the end of the year – although that's a long wait from the February we're writing from, and you'll miss many calls and potentially-tracked steps in the meantime. If you're desperate for something before then, we've got plenty of buying guides charting the best smartwatch, best Wear OS watch, best Android watch, best running watches, best Apple Watches and more to help you find the best wrist-mounted companion for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.