Samsung Unveils Tizen on Next Gen Smartwatch

by Matt Klassen on February 24, 2014

It looks like Samsung’s long awaited migration towards its own Tizen operating system has finally begun, as the company announced it was ditching its classic Android platform in favour of the new OS not on a new line of smartphones, but on the second generation of its Galaxy Gear smartwatches. In fact, the next generation of wearables has dropped the ‘Galaxy’ moniker for this latest iteration of its burgeoning wearable technology lineup, naming its two watches Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo.

The rebranding comes as part of Samsung’s simultaneous goals of not confusing its loyal Android fan base with some sort of deceptive OS bait-and-switch, while trying to retain its clientele as its attempts some sort of transition between platforms.

That said, don’t think that Samsung will be abandoning its Android cash cow anytime soon–particularly given that tensions between Samsung and Google have eased lately–yet with the understanding that the real money in the mobile world comes from an in-house operating system, one can only see this as the first of many Tizen devices to come.

There’s no question that the subtle switch between operating system is the biggest news regarding Samsung’s second generation of wearable gadgets, as the watches themselves have little in the way of exciting upgrades. In fact, apart from the fact that the watch’s camera has been moved and upgraded, that different colour wrist straps are now available, and that the watch’s music player has been improved, there’s really no much to say.

But of course the arrival of the first real Tizen powered device is news enough, although it does raise questions about cross platform compatibility if one is trying to use the new Tizen smartwatches with an Android-powered Galaxy smartphone.

Should the two platforms not be compatible—and truly I doubt they will be—look for a cadre of Tizen-based smartphones to hit shelves later this year, all in an effort to capitalize on the initial curiosity that often accompanies new entries into the OS market.

Compatibility questions aside, the emergence of Tizen itself does raise a number of questions on its own, most notably whether or not it’ll have the chops to compete with the likes of iOS and Android, but with the strong backing of Samsung—particularly if the Korean company is able to successfully pull off this transition—I would say it has the best chance out of the entire class of middling third place contenders.

But if you thought Samsung was poised to abandon Google and its Android ecosystem, well not so fast, as  tensions between the two have eased of late, with Samsung promises to embrace more of Google’s own services on its Android phones, while Google has removed itself from the hardware business by selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Samsung isn’t still hedging its bets, and releasing Tizen as a smartwatch instead of a smartphone is the best way to do that. Not only does Samsung avoid the consumer outcry over Tizen’s lack of apps, since a smartwatch requires only a few apps to work well to be successful, but Samsung is able to avoid its need for carriers to support the device for it to be successful, giving Samsung time to grow Tizen not as a replacement for Android, but as a worthy second option.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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