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.

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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.

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