Most of the rumors pointed to Samsung adopting Wear OS for its future smartwatches. They never anticipated, however, that the company would actually play a bigger role in Google’s wearable future. It might sound comforting for Wear OS fans that a large company like Samsung would be investing heavily in the platform’s future but it could also sound discouraging for those already invested in Samsung’s Tizen-based platform. Samsung is throwing this group a bone by promising updates that will last three years, though that’s really just two years now since the last Galaxy Watch.
The partnership between Google and Samsung over wearables definitely seems like a symbiotic one. On the one hand, Samsung’s smartwatches are quite popular, support for apps isn’t. Wear OS, on the other hand, is used on most smartwatches but the overall user experience leaves a lot to be desired.
With the new partnership, Samsung is bringing some of its tools and systems from Tizen to Wear OS. That includes its Galaxy Watch Studio for creating watch faces and apps as well as its SmartThings IoT ecosystems and health and fitness systems. Wear OS for Galaxy Watches, however, will only be available to future models and that seemingly leaves those with existing smartwatches out in the cold.
That’s why in its blog post extolling the new era of smartwatch innovation, Samsung ends by promising those existing customers three years of updates for their Tizen-based smartwatches. That said, since the latest Galaxy Watch launched last year, that’s practically just two years for the newest model.
If this were the old Samsung, that promise would probably be met with doubt and suspicion. Fortunately, Samsung today has been quite religious in pushing out updates so Tizen smartwatch fans can still look forward to some fixes and hopefully new features for another year or so.