Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Google, Samsung collaborate for WearOS as Tizen fades

We’ve long liked Samsung’s Tizen wearables, but the Galaxy watch operating system appears ill-fated, as a collaboration between Google and Samsung means a new WearOS is coming.

If you look at the wearable scene, you might struggle to find something from Google out there in the world. Sure, Google bought Fitbit, and there are loads of Fitbit devices out there, but there’s nothing specifically Google like there is with Apple or even Samsung.

Apple has the Apple Watch, and several years in, there are loads of wrists wearing that device, and the same is true with Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy range has been running for quite some time, and Tizen has been the operating system of choice, complete with its neat circular controls we’ve long admired.

Google’s own approach, however, that’s not so easy to find. Known as Wear OS, it’s used by a few major wristwatch brands — TAG and Skagen and Fossil, and even Oppo has a WearOS watch we reviewed — but the experience on WearOS isn’t as strong as it is on either Apple’s WatchOS or Samsung’s Tizen for watches.

But that might soon be changing.

Announced at Google I/O 2021, Google and Samsung are collaborating on a new version of WearOS, teaming up with Google to bring what worked in Tizen into WearOS, and provide what Samsung says is “a blueprint for innovative future smartwatch experiences”.

“The great experiences that consumers loved on previous Galaxy smartwatches will continue on this unified platform,” said Samsung’s Janghyun Youn.

“At Samsung, we have long focused on creating the best possible connected experiences between Galaxy smartwatches and smartphones, working in perfect harmony together. This new platform is the next step in that mission and we’re looking forward to giving consumers the best mobile experience.”

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 on the Samsung Galaxy S20+
Samsung Galaxy Watch3 on the Samsung Galaxy S20+

It’s a sentiment shared by Bjorn Kilburn, Director of Product Management at Google Wear, noting on the Google Blog during I/O 2021 that the company has been able to work together to deliver better performance, longer battery life, support for smoother animations, and even optimise the hardware of a wearable so that it can track your sleep overnight and still offer battery power for the next day.

What’s more, while Samsung and Google are collaborating for WearOS, the new version of WearOS won’t just be for Samsung devices. Rather, they’ll be for every device maker working on WearOS products.

Samsung is even reportedly building a watch face design editor for the WearOS platform, allowing you to customise your watch face the way you want to.

So what does this mean moving forward?

Well, it’s very likely Samsung won’t be releasing any more Tizen wearables from here on in, but the company has already offered support for the future, with at least three years of software support from when the product was launched.

However WearOS seems like the platform Samsung smartwatches will deliver, and Samsung says that’s coming soon, arriving in the coming months.

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