Rumors of a Marriage
Rumors have it that a marriage between Samsung and Android will not take place. But if this wedding did take place, what would this marriage look like? How would both Samsung and Wear OS benefit from marrying each other? More importantly, would their marriage benefit you?
This is not the first time that both Samsung and Android had a relationship. When the Samsung Gear watch was initially released in November of 2014, it utilized the Android operating system. Within a year, Samsung divorced Android and married the Tizen operating system with the release of its second-generation watch, the Samsung Gear S2 in October of 2015.
Tizen, though a solid and stable operating system, has not evolved as quickly as the engineers at Google have been able to develop their growing Wear OS. It is my contention that Samsung, who is interested in selling watches, has taken a long hard look at the operating system that they have deployed, and compared it to that of their competition. After comparing the two, one clearly stands out head and shoulders above the other, and Samsung realized that they have a LOT of catching up to do.
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What is wrong with the Tizen operating system?
Two things. “Lack of Developers” and “Digital Assistant”. Other competing platforms have better developer support by far. It’s just uncanny how few apps are available for the Tizen OS when they have had years to build them for the Tizen OS. The word, “neglected” comes to mind.
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Unlike Tizen, Wear OS has tremendous developer support. With Wear OS, there’s no shortage of apps to choose from, including Delta, Uber, Lifesum, Nest, Google Maps, Spotify, and many more. As of July 2018, you just won’t find these very popular apps/services available on the Tizen operating system. Why? Because it lacks developer support. It almost feels like they are waiting to see if it will “catch on” before really committing to development. Yes, the OS is very smooth and functional, but the lack of apps is glaringly obvious. Perhaps this is why there has been a lot of buzz about Samsung divorcing Tizen for Wear OS lately.
I’ve written extensively on the Digital Assistant used on the Tizen operation system, and I highly encourage you to read that article. In a nutshell, however, Google Assistant is years ahead of S Voice, (literally). It listens better and does not require you to speak slowly and enunciate when making your request. It also is more accurate, . . . by far. S-Voice is so bad that I completely disabled it on my Gear S3 because it would audibly ask for clarification when I did not ask it a question. That can be a little embarrassing when the Pastor is preaching on Sunday morning.
Wear OS Is Easier to Use
One advantage of Wear OS is that it is widely thought of as being much easier to “get around”, much easier to navigate. Of course, there are things that can be improved upon, but Wear OS just feels easier to use.
Apps are easy to install right from your watch with the Wear Google Play Store. Checking the battery life is a breeze. Simply swipe down from the top and you will get a quick summary of your battery life. If you don’t like vibrating notifications, you can easily prevent them by swiping from the top to the bottom of the watch face, and then simply touch the “do not disturb” icon and you are good to go. These are just a few examples, but the operating system as a whole feels much easier to navigate than Samsung’s Tizen operating system.
Wear OS Has a Lot of Momentum
With the release of Wear OS 2, it now not only supports the ability to navigate from the digital crown, but also from the bezel. Yes, if your watch has a rotating bezel, now you can simply turn the horizontal ring that surrounds the watch face to navigate through the menu on your smartwatch. The Tizen operating system already allows for this, but only for hardware manufacturers (like Samsung). Given that Wear OS now allows for this, hardware manufacturers can take advantage of this feature. Kudos to the engineers at Google for this one.
Here’s the bottom line. The more feature-rich the operating system, the more developers will develop for it. The more developers that develop for it, the more popular it becomes. The more popular it becomes, the more developers will develop for it. This circle of life continues to build momentum as more and more companies release hardware that utilizes Wear OS.
People Buy Benefits Not Features
People are attracted to benefits. They buy benefits, not features. A feature is something that the smartwatch will do. The benefit is what it does for me. It may be cool that your smartwatch has the latest gizmo feature, but what does that new gizmo feature do for you? Does it save you time? Does it make life a lot easier for you? Does it cause you to be more productive, more efficient? People buy benefits, not features.
Apple discovered this long before the iPhone was conceived, and has built an enormous empire based on this premise. Google has followed suit by giving away Gmail so that people could check their e-mail from any device, and not just from your desktop or laptop computer. They invite you to use Google Drive so that the documents you create are available from any device connected to the internet. Google even provides the Microsoft Office equivalent with Google Docs so that you can create these documents from anywhere on any internet-connected device. As you can see, Google has been selling benefits for years.
It is from this background that Google continues to develop Wear OS. It has built a solid foundation offering even more with the release of Wear OS 2, which could easily take advantage of the hardware that Samsung has already provided.
What Would Samsung Benefit From This Marriage?
Samsung offers fine hardware that speaks of meticulous craftsmanship. For example, when turning the bezel, you can even hear it click through each of the 60 notches around the bezel of the Gear S3 Frontier (which allows for better grip), and the 108 notches around the bezel of the Gear S3 Classic. I know, I counted them.
Samsung brings its name to the table. It brings it’s a team of engineers and craftsmen to the table. In the world of smartwatches, that’s no small thing.