Samsung Plans Android Wear Smartwatch for 2014

The latest Gear smartwatches may be running Tizen, but Samsung hasn't given up on Android for wearables.

Samsung's latest Gear smartwatches may be running the nascent Tizen platform, but the Korea-based electronics maker is also planning an Android-based smartwatch later this year.

That's the word from Samsung product strategy chief Yoon Han-kil, who recently gave Reuters some scant information about the company's upcoming plans. The Reuters report didn't specify what software the next Android-based Samsung watch would use, but the device will undoubtedly be running Android Wear--the Google Now-centric platform for wearables.

Tizendependence

Samsung's original Galaxy Gear smartwatch was a pre-Wear Android-based device, but the company switched to its Tizen platform for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. One of Samsung's talking points for playing up the Tizen wearables was that developers could write Gear 2 apps using JavaScript and HTML5.

Tizen gives Samsung some independence from Google since the vast majority of Samsung's lineup runs Android. It also allows Samsung to create an app ecosystem for Tizen devices that is separate from Android's.

Whether Samsung can get developers on board, however, is another issue. Many companies have tried to create a third ecosystem separate from Android and iOS, but so far none have succeeded. Microsoft, for example, has had a tough time getting third-party app makers to develop for Windows 8's modern UI as well as Windows Phone 8.

Even if it takes a long time for Tizen to catch on with developers, however, Samsung can afford to wait thanks to its strong Android lineup--despite recent profit dips.

Tizen to your ear

Just because Samsung plans to release an Android Wear watch, it doesn't mean the company's given up on Tizen. In fact, Samsung's new operating system is just getting started.

Yoon also told Reuters that Samsung will release two Tizen-based phones this year. The first one will be a high-end device slated to launch sometime in late spring/early summer. The second smartphone would be a mid-range device, but it's not clear when that handset might appear.

Similar to the expected Android Wear device, Yoon didn't offer any specs or features planned for the upcoming Tizen phones.

As if that wasn't enough, Yoon also said the next version of Samsung's Galaxy Note, due in the second half of the year, would be sporting a "new form factor." Yoon didn't elaborate on what he meant, but a good guess would be that the next Note will have an even larger screen than the Note 3. Every iteration of the Galaxy Note so far has had a bigger display than its predecessor.

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