Samsung was an original launch partner for Android Wear when it launched in 2014 with the Gear Live, but shortly after they ditched Google’s wearable OS in favour of their in-house developed Tizen. According to a new rumour, Samsung may be returning to Android as their warble platform.
A few key issues here, firstly these are unsubstantiated rumours, so we’d recommend taking an entire pack of salt with this one, secondly, running Android may not mean Wear OS, it could just be the Android kernel with a Samsung Skin on top. The rumour suggests that Samsung is working on two new devices in the Galaxy Watch Active line and that these devices will launch with some flavour of Android.
Let us suspend doubt for a moment and imagine what a Samsung Wear OS device might be like? With the Galaxy Watch line, Samsung is already enjoying a reliable platform, with solid performance and battery life. Galaxy watches already feature fitness tracking, Heart rate, wireless charging, cellular connectivity and NFC for payments.
If Samsung moved to Wear OS that would signify that Samsung is convinced that the Wear OS hardware and Software platform had matured to a point where it would replace Tizen without hunting the overall consumer experience. That would be a huge stride forward for Wear OS and Google. If Samsung released a Wear OS device, that could be a turning point for Google’s almost abandoned wearable platform.
If we reenable our disbelief again, it’s honestly more likely that if Samsung were to change wearable OSs it would just be under the hood. Perhaps they want to adopt Android for app compatibility for 3rd party developers? Perhaps they don’t see the ROI on Tizen development and want to drop those expenses?
Honestly, we don’t see Samsung sharing the branding with Google or giving up the Galaxy Store or Samsung Pay as the default services. As always remember this is an early rumour, let’s see how things unfold.