It seems like just yesterday that Samsung released its Galaxy Gear smartwatch to enter the arena of the wearable technology market. In fact, it was September 2013, but the company is already reportedly gearing up to unveil a second version of the smartwatch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. This next version of the watch will reportedly operate not on Android — Google’s operating system upon which Samsung has built its smartphone empire — but Tizen, a homegrown operating system developed with the Linux Foundation and Intel.
Tizen has been in the works for some time, and emerged as other open-source mobile operating systems began to seek footholds in the OS market dominated by Android and iOS. Firefox OS by Mozilla, Sailfish by Jolla, and Ubuntu by Canonical are in similar leagues as they are new mobile operating platforms that are attempting to make headway into a global market considered a duopoly by many, and a monopoly by others given Android’s enormous presence.
VISUAL CONTEXT: DEVICES RUNNING ON ANDROID
Running the Galaxy Gear on Tizen will allow Samsung to send out a barometer of sorts for its thus-far-unused operating system. Of course, some practicalities must be considered — one being that there are no Tizen-based smartphones in existence yet, so any syncing will be impossible. (Syncing with mobile devices is a feature smartwatch-makers have flaunted.) And the other are available apps. While Samsung has roped in a few big-name apps, it has nowhere near the capacity of the app store of Android.
There are more than a few unknowns surrounding the use of and potential success of a Tizen-based device of any kind, let alone a smartwatch. Since smartwatches have not exactly taken off as mainstream consumer devices, perhaps Samsung looks to use the release of its second Galaxy Gear as a guinea pig for gauging consumer reaction to its unique operating system. And, in the same vein, perhaps it will use it to lure more developers.