Samsung and Google (+Fitbit) join forces to make Wear (OS) better at Google I/O. The announcement was mostly about two giant and influential companies “joining forces” to produce a “unified platform” that combines “the best of Wear and Tizen” – Tizen is Samsung’s proprietary OS, and Wear is Google’s OS for wearable devices.
The presentation did not show any tangible items for the next version of Wear, but it shows that the industry will consolidate a bit more around Wear, now that Samsung’s Tizen will be phasing out. Samsung promises to bring along the “best aspects of Tizen,” but nothing specific was announced.
Certainly, Samsung has a tremendous software development capability, but most people want Samsung products for the quality of their hardware. For example, I played with the Samsung Watch 3, and the industrial design and overall quality are impeccable, even though the battery life could be better.
The #1 friction point for the Samsung Watch 3 is the relative scarcity of Tizen apps, which is now solved for future Samsung watches as they will run Wear apps. Current Tizen-based watch owners will still have Samsung’s support for a few more years, and that’s not unreasonable given the average lifespan of these devices.