Search engine giant Google has teamed up with South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung to produce a unified platform for their wearables in a bit to challenge Apple’s dominance over the smartwatch market.
According to Statista, Apple’s watchOS has garnered up the largest market share among all its competitors since 2018 at 16.2 percent worldwide, in comparison to the 6.4 percent by Google’s Wear OS, and Android Wear’s 4.3 percent.
The deal will see a merger between Google’s Wear OS and Samsung’s open source Tizen to produce an all-around product that can propel Android wearables to the next level.
“By working together, we have been able to take strengths of each and combine them into an experience that has faster performance, longer battery life and more of the apps you love available for the watch,” a Google blog post announcing the collaboration said.
This move translates into both companies looking to actively challenge Apple’s dominance of the market; especially since forecasts by Statista show Apple’s market share increase to 17.3 percent in 2022.
According to the companies, the collaboration will see apps start up to 30 percent faster on the latest chipsets with smooth user interface animations and motion.
“To achieve longer battery life, we’ve worked to optimize the lower layers of the operating system – taking advantage of low-power hardware cores to enable better battery life,” the post explained.
Among these updates includes handy optimizations like the ability to run the heart rate sensor continuously during the day, track overnight sleep and still have battery for the next day.
The beauty and one of the perks of the unified platform will be its open source, shying away from exclusivity to invite developers to build their own apps for the watch.
“This isn’t just for Google and Samsung. All device makers will be able to add a customized user experience on top of the platform, and developers will be able to use the Android tools they already know and love to build for one platform and ecosystem,” the company said.
According to both companies, the watch has an emphasis on agility and reliability when it comes to its use as the unified platform allows users to access shortcuts to important functions and features from anywhere on the watch.
The platform will finally allow users to personalize their home screen carousel with tiles from their favorite apps like Calm, Sleep Cycle, and Flo; this allows users to choose what information they want displayed at a glance coupled with a set of actions in every swipe.
According to the blog post, both Google Maps and Google Assistant are being redesigned and improved; in parallel, Google Pay will also be redesigned and will be supported in 26 new countries, beyond the 11 countries currently available.
Music listeners will also be happy to hear that YouTube Music will also arrive on Wear later this year, equipped with features like smart downloads for subscribers to enjoy music while on the go.
According to Google, the bread and butter of the wearables market, which is why the collaboration is bringing Fitbit’s household name in the mix. “The best of Fitbit, including features like tracking your health progress throughout your day and on-wrist goal celebrations, will motivate you on your journey to better health,” the company highlighted.
Google’s Director of Product Management at Wear, Bjorn Kilburn wrote in the blog post that the unified platform will provide new tools, like a Tiles API and a watch face design editor built by Samsung, to simplify the development of new experiences on wearables.