At the last Google IO Conference, Google made a rather ambiguous announcement about their partnership with Samsung and watches. Samsung currently sells their Gear watches running an operating system that they made in collaboration with a few other companies. In the announcement, Google said that they were combining their Wear OS operating system with Samsung’s Tizen operating system. What exactly does this mean? There was not clarification given during the conference. Looking at the conference sessions, there were two sessions on development for Google’s Android OS.
Generally speaking, one can’t just combine two operating systems. They could build a different operating system that has support for the applications from another OS or take designs from the UI of an OS and apply it to another. But there isn’t anything meaningful in the phrase “Combine operating system.” Jumping over to the Samsung Developer forums, I found there were people with similar questions, all of which were met with the reply “We can’t give you more information at this time.”
Information was finally made available earlier this week. In summary, Samsung is going to adopt Wear OS (Android) for their watches. They said that they will support the existing Tizen based watches for another three years. That announcement was surprisingly more direct than I’ve seen Samsung be with other products that they sunset. What I’ve usually seen is that new versions of a product stop coming without any announcement being made (Their Tizen based Z phones, the Gear 360, and Gear VR headsets are all examples of products for which this happened).
If you would like to see the announcement yourself, you can view it in the YouTube video below. The part of interest can be found at time marker 11:25 and continues to the announcement of 3 years of Tizen support at time marker 16:38. What exactly is meant by “support” could still get more clarification. I expect this to at least mean that developers will be able to submit and update applications for the next few years, but Samsung will be giving significantly less resources to Tizen wearable.
This leaves Samsung’s TVs as their last category of hardware that uses the Tizen operating system.