Samsung is taking a completely different approach to its next-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch, according to a new report from USA Today – that means eschewing Android altogether on the on-device OS. The Galaxy Gear launched last year ran Android, Google’s mobile OS, but that piece of wearable tech didn’t light any fires under consumers or critics, so why not go back to the drawing board?
To replace Android as the OS for its new smartwatch, Samsung is said to be using Tizen, its in-house mobile OS that appears to be nearing release on its first Samsung smartphone device. USA Today reports that ian HTML5 version of Tizen will ship with the new Galaxy Gear, and that both will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress this month in Barcelona.
Samsung is hosting an event at MWC called ‘Unpacked5’ February 24, where it seems likely to unveil its next Galaxy S flagship device. There’s also a chance we’ll see the Gear at the show, as has been reported previously by other outlets.
Tizen on the smartwatch would be a significant shift for Samsung, but moving to an HTML5-based platform on the device might make it easier for developers to craft simple partner apps for software resident on the phones themselves, and it could also help with things like improving battery life. Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch, for instance, runs a “lightweight” OS that contributes to its five days of battery life, vs. around two days at best for the Galaxy Gear.
Another reason Samsung is eschewing Android for this generation of smartwatch, according to USA Today, is to keep more control over the device and platform in its own hands. The company’s Tizen efforts seemed stalled for a long time, but Samsung recently signed up a score of new high-profile partners. Investing in Tizen on the Gear probably can’t hurt that device’s chances – with wearables, there’s little reason yet for any consumer to choose one platform over another, and the initial version of the Galaxy Gear didn’t sell enough to create anything like lock-in for existing users.
Hopefully this next Gear isn’t just the same device with Tizen subbing in for Android, and the new watch offers many more improvements besides. In any case, if rumors are true, we should find out either way next week.