A lot has been said about Samsung and Google’s partnership that saw the two companies work together on the new ‘unified’ Wear OS (3) platform. Many Samsung fans are angry the Korean giant switched out what they think was a superior OS, and Galaxy Watch 3 owners are disappointed that their barely-a-year-old watch will remain on Tizen instead of being upgraded to Wear OS.
Owners of other Android smartwatches are fuming, too: Google’s keeping Wear OS 3 exclusive to Samsung until 2022, and even when Wear OS 3 is eventually released for existing watches, not all of them are guaranteed to get the update.
For most customers, though, Samsung’s switch to Android/Wear OS for its smartwatches is a good move. The biggest advantage is the app support that Wear OS enjoys, and I was reminded of that advantage just ten minutes or so after I started using my newly purchased Galaxy Watch 4.
Google apps are finally officially available on Samsung watches
I picked up the 44 mm Galaxy Watch 4 at a retail store earlier today. I set it up at the store itself, and then I walked out to the parking lot to get my car, turned on navigation on my phone, and drove out. A few minutes later I felt the watch vibrate, glanced at it, and saw directions on the screen because it detected I was running Google Maps on my phone. And all Maps functionality is available right from the watch itself, not just directions.
Yes, at long last, we have access to official Google apps on a Samsung smartwatch (Google Assistant has yet to arrive, sadly). That alone is reason enough for me to support the company’s decision to ditch Tizen. App support makes or breaks any mobile operating system these days, and there’s no denying the fact that Samsung sticking to its in-house OS was a huge obstacle to app availability on its smartwatches.
That obstacle has now been removed, and with Samsung putting its custom One UI interface over Wear OS 3, we’re now able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Sure, there are some downsides, reduced battery life being one of the major ones, but I think the improved app support was well worth the compromise.
What do you think? Do you like your Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic, or do you think Samsung should have stuck with Tizen?