Samsung’s first smartwatch was a dud. Even when Samsung was pitching the device to the media during briefings, representatives couldn’t always keep a straight face while selling the Galaxy Gear’s features. It was rushed to market in an effort to head off Apple’s iWatch — which doesn’t exist even today — and it was a bad product. In 2014, however, Samsung will look to make amends and since Apple’s iWatch still doesn’t exist, Samsung can easily take an early lead in the wearable war with the right product. Interestingly, however, Samsung might not only be battling Apple with its next-generation wearables, it might square off with longtime partner Google as well.
The Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch is expected to be among the products Samsung will unveil during its Mobile World Congress press conference on Monday. According to a recent rumor, there will be at least one major change between the Gear 2 and the original Gear: The new model will run Samsung’s own operating system, Tizen, instead of Android.
If this is in fact the case and Samsung moves away from Android with its new wearable devices, it will put Google in an interesting position. With revenue growth in the smartphone and tablet markets slowing, wearables are seen by many as the “next big thing” that drives growth for big technology companies. If Samsung’s marketing muscle positions it in wearables as well as it has in the smartphone and tablet markets, Android stands to really suffer.
Wired offers some interesting thoughts on the matter, and it suggests that Google’s recent acquisition of the talented hardware design team at Nest could have a big impact on Google’s efforts with wearables.