Report: No future for Android Wear in Samsung’s Watches
UPDATE: When Engadget asked Samsung to comment on the issue, the company denied that they were abandoning Android Wear. ‘ “We disagree with Fast Company’s interpretation. Samsung has not made any announcement concerning Android Wear and we have not changed our commitment to any of our platforms.” ‘
A new report is coming from Fast Company stating that “no more Samsung Android Wear devices are in development or being planned.” Instead, the company will push forward with its own Tizen OS for all of its future wearables.
According to the report, Samsung is eschewing Android Wear OS because they believe that Samsung’s Tizen OS is “far more battery-efficient than Android Wear.” Samsung has only based a single wearable in its entire lineup on Android Wear OS thus far, and most other Samsung devices outside of their smartphone and tablet lineup (such as the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator) already run on Tizen OS. So it’s not entirely unsurprising to see Samsung cut the rope on Android Wear, but Google losing a partner as massive as Samsung spells doom for the company’s smartwatch OS plans.
Android Wear Faces some Stiff Competition
Much of Android’s initial success came from the adoption of Google’s OS by companies like Samsung and HTC. Today, Samsung retains the #1 position in terms of smartphone shipments, all of which boost Android’s popularity thanks to Samsung shipping Android on nearly all of their smartphones. Such a partnership would have benefitted Android Wear tremendously in its early development, however, Samsung has not shipped a single Android Wear smartwatch since the Samsung Gear Live. Despite this fact, however, Android Wear’s market share has continued to grow.
Although Android Wear currently retains the #2 position in the smartwatch OS market war, it only does so due to the combined efforts of Sony, LG, Huawei, and other OEMs. Samsung’s individual smartwatch shipments are only bested by that of Apple, but Samsung is gearing up to expand very quickly into new markets.
Android Wear is not likely going anywhere anytime soon, but with aggressive competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung the Google-branded OS will face an uphill battle. Unlike the smartphone market which has largely become saturated in most developed markets, smartwatches still have a long way to go before we see the true market leaders begin to settle in their dominant positions. In addition, with Samsung dropping Android Wear in favor of Tizen, other companies could follow suit unless Google offers a compelling reason to continue using their smartwatch OS.
Tizen OS – Is it worth it?
Samsung’s states that battery life concerns are among their top priorities in their choice to abandon Android Wear OS. Although Google has made strides to improve battery life in Android Wear by introducing Doze mode in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, battery life among Android Wear devices is indeed one of the drawbacks when compared to current offerings from Samsung or Pebble. Google is pulling all the software stops with their latest Android Wear 2.0 update and is hoping the rich application suite and integration with Android smartphones is enough to entice its partners to stick with Android Wear. The latest update will allow for a wide variety of standalone applications and new watchfaces to further enhance the possible use-cases for Android Wear devices.
But Samsung’s current approach doesn’t line up with Google’s vision for smartwatch OSes. Tizen OS seems content with serving as a notification interaction hub with some access to smartphone applications, much like Android Wear in the past, and a healthy interest in fitness applications. Whether or not Tizen OS can succeed has yet to be seen. After all, with Samsung being the only backer of the alternative smartwatch OS, Tizen has a lot to prove if it wants to be the smartwatch OS that runs on everyone’s wrist.
Samsung Gear smartwatch users, what are your thoughts on Tizen OS? Tell us your experiences below.