Something big just happened at Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona and it doesn’t involve Android. It’s a small thing but could mean something very big in the mobile world in the future. Samsung has announced their follow up smartwatch called the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. But unlike the Galaxy Gear this watch does not run Android but instead uses Samsung’s own open source software called Tizen. It has been known for a while that Samsung was experimenting with other software but this is the first official device to ship with an OS that is not Android. What does that mean for Samsung and Android in the future?
For now the answer to that is not much. Samsung will continue to use Android in its lineup of phones and devices and we are not likely to see any changes in the near future. But Samsung likes to experiment and the Gear 2 with Tizen is one of those experiments. Remember the Galaxy Note was also an experiment and that turned out really well for Samsung. There is no doubt that Samsung would like to see a future where it is using its own OS rather than Android. They want to emulate Apple in that way and have been slowly moving in that direction.
Now that Samsung has such a large footprint in the mobile world (thanks to Android) they probably think that they have the muscle to push their own OS. But with that being said it takes a lot to make an OS popular specially on that app side of it. Also, we have no idea of the performance of Tizen and how well it will run on phones and tablets. It’s okay to have a smartwatch run Tizen and most people won’t care what software it runs. But phones and tablets are more personal and need excellent performance. Therefore, if Tizen is going to be successful it will have to be on par or better than Android. But what does all this mean for Android and Google.
If Samsung fully switches to Tizen for their phones and tablets it will be a hug deal specially considering that right now Samsung completely dominates the Android market. So in the short-term that could be a big hit for Google as they will lose their reach without Android on all those phones and tablets. But on the other hand it could also be a blessing that will open up the Android market once again and allow a more diverse set of manufacturers to make an impact. That could lead to more innovation and be better for Android in the long-term.
For now we’ll have to keep an eye on thing and see how all this plays out in the market. In the end the consumers will really decide with their wallets and purchasing power. But I don’t see Android going away anytime in the near or long-term future and maybe the market can tolerate a third software. Let us know what you think about Samsung’s move and the new Tizen software? Is it a good move for Samsung?