Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 to ditch Android for Tizen?

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 19, 2014 09:11 AM EST

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Samsung's next-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch will reportedly run Tizen OS instead of Google's Android operating system, and will debut at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) next week.

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The Tizen association may have gotten new members, but the mobile platform is still in its early stages and it needs a strong start to get things up and running. Samsung is the platform's biggest backer, and it reportedly decided to promote Tizen itself by loading it onto its next-generation smartwatch.

"The new version of Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch will run on Tizen, not Google's Android operating system, the latest attempt by the South Korean electronics giant to develop more of its own software and services, according to three people familiar with the situation," USA Today reports.

"Samsung will unveil the updated Gear watch, and a new HTML5 version of the Tizen operating system, at an event at the Mobile World Congress later this month in Barcelona, the people said. They did not want to be identified because Samsung's plans are not yet public. Samsung spokeswoman Laurie Spindler declined to comment."

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Tizen is an open-source project aiming to serve as a software platform for smartphones and other connected devices. Samsung has been heavily pushing this project that debuted last year, but Tizen's journey has not been very smooth so far. Some members have dropped out of the project along the way, but the association recently announced 15 new partners, including Sprint, Softbank, Baidu, and other heavyweight backers.

Samsung launched its original Galaxy Gear smartwatch (pictured above) last year and the gadget runs Google's Android. The smartwatch wasn't too well-received, however, and Samsung is already working on a successor. If the company does indeed plan to replace Android with Tizen for its second-generation Galaxy Gear, it means that Samsung still has a lot of faith in Tizen despite the recent hurdles it faced with the platform.

The report further notes that Google wants to avoid being too reliant on Google's operating system. At the same time, using its own OS for wearable devices could allow Samsung to see more profits from both its software and services.

"Samsung is trying to protect its long-term interests, not fortifying Google's Android camp while building their own camp around Tizen," said Stuart Richens, vice president of digital media at Network Communications, as cited by USA Today.

If the publication's sources are correct and Samsung's next Galaxy Gear will use an HTML5 version of Tizen, the company may also be able to attract more Web developers to create apps for its gadget. At the same time, this move also implies a risk, especially considering that HTML5 apps so far have not been as successful as native apps for more traditional platforms such as iOS and Android.

Samsung has yet to offer official details regarding its next-generation Galaxy Gear, but we should hear all about it in less than a week, at Samsung's Unpacked 5 event on Feb. 24. We'll keep an eye out and keep you up to date as soon as we learn more.



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