The Galaxy Watch 3 is a really good smartwatch, recently updated with functions such as ECG and even – before Apple – a blood pressure measurement via smartwatch. Like all wearables from Samsung, it works with an in-house operating system: Tizen. This also works on other Samsung devices, such as televisions. But that’s over now: Samsung is saying goodbye to its own system and will use Google Wear OS for the next Galaxy Watch. The new system should be available in autumn 2021, so the Galaxy Watch 4 could already run with the new Wear OS.
Wear OS: New version learns from Samsung
At Google I / O 2021, Samsung announced a new smartwatch with Wear OS. Visually, the operation should still feel like Samsung, because the new Google system merges with elements of Samsung’s Tizen system. Users of earlier Samsung smartphones could feel at home in the same way. The convergence of both platforms was praised at Google I / O. But this is evidently primarily a gesture of courtesy. Because at its core, the new system is a new variant of Wear OS. It should also be possible to install new apps on the next Galaxy Watch via the Google Play Store.
The new system should run faster and save batteries
In the new system, apps should start “up to 20 percent faster” – but what exactly the comparison refers to remained unclear. At the same time, Google promises a significantly better battery life. Continuous heart rate measurement should also be possible without severe drops.
Why is Samsung switching to Wear OS?
At first glance, switching to the so far unsuccessful Wear OS makes little sense. At second glance, however, the advantages become clear. Because Samsung sits between the chairs in the wearable market: The Apple Watch is way ahead of the premium smartwatches. At the same time, cheap wearables from Xiaomi, Amazfit or Huawei are gnawing at the market share. Another problem: Since Samsung has so far been using Tizen as the operating system for its smartwatches, Google Pay does not work for paying by wrist. Samsung Pay is now also working in Germany and Google Pay has not yet supported Sparkasse or Postbank, but an additional debit credit card must be set up for Samsung Pay. And the more competing wearables systems there are on the market, the less chance the competition has against Apple. This also means that high-quality third-party apps are not available.
Is Samsung going in two directions?
However, it is also conceivable that Samsung will only let a test balloon rise with its own Wear OS hardware. Depending on the success, Samsung could gradually switch all wearables to Wear OS or let this development wither again. After all, Samsung released its own smartwatch with the Google operating system years ago and discontinued it after half-hearted marketing.
Assessment: Google vs. Apple, Part 2
With some delay, a similar duel is now being announced for smartwatches as for smartphones: On the one hand, Google with Wear OS and strong manufacturers such as Fitbit and Samsung, on the other, Apple’s watchOS. But it is still open how the dispute will continue. Because unlike smartphones, many wearable users are satisfied with cheaper fitness watches that offer few functions but a long battery life.