A new report suggests Samsung could be preparing to launch a smartwatch powered by Google’s Wear OS, formerly known as Android Wear.
Although Samsung previously ditched Android Wear for its own Tizen platform, the Korean conglomerate is said to be planning to release a Wear OS-powered smartwatch, tentatively named “Samsung Galaxy Watch,” in 2018.
That suggestion comes from prolific Samsung tech leaker Ice Universe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo claiming, “Samsung and Google will have an Android Wear flagship watch in the second half of the year.”
Another reliable leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks) recently claimed that Samsung employees have been seen wearing “Gear watches” running Wear OS. But he didn’t say whether this Android smartwatch is a separate venture, or if the next Samsung wearable will, indeed, ditch Tizen in favor of Wear OS.
The name of the new watch comes from other reports that said Samsung will dump the Gear branding and therefore the prospective Gear S4 tag previously thought to be the natural next step.
Samsung was recently awarded patents for a Samsung Galaxy Watch, and, should its next generation smartwatch bear that name, it would hint a change from the standard Samsung Gear naming practice. Could that be a signal that the company is planning to change perception on the smartwatch front?
According to Chinese website IT home, Samsung will choose Wear OS for a new smartwatch as Tizen users are cheated when it comes to app support. And while it does appear unusual that Samsung would enjoy maneuvering away from its own wearables platform after putting in so much time to advance it to today’s capability, it seems more plausible that the company would want to play on the same fields as its rivals.
Back in 2014, Samsung joined LG to usher in the first generation of Wear with its Gear Live. And, before that Samsung had Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Gear, which it updated to Tizen OS via a firmware update months later after its release.
Dwindling popularity and poor sales pushed Google to make the decision to rebrand its Android Wear as Wear OS. By rebranding, Google hopes to regain its foothold in a market dominated by Tizen and watchOS. For Google, rebranding was an inevitable move, considering that every third Android smartwatch was being paired with an iPhone.