LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2014: The Tizen operating system (OS) has been chosen by Samsung for the latest version of its Gear smart watch but the novice OS still lacks commercial smartphones.
The Tizen Association this afternoon said the OS will appear in the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, both of which will be available worldwide from April.
The announcement could offer a new direction for the OS which so far has only appeared in a single digital camera.
This time last year NTT Docomo, Orange and Samsung promised to commercialise Tizen handsets in the second half of 2013, but the plans never came to fruition.
Certainly there is an argument to putting Tizen in a smart watch. Firstly, it would enable the South Korean handset number one to maintain the appearance of support for Tizen without the risks associated with a major migration of a smartphone to the platform.
And secondly, the shortcomings of Tizen – such as the lack of apps and content catalogue – are less of a problem in a smart watch, where new types of apps need to be developed anyway.
Initially Samsung announced the new Tizen-based devices as the ‘Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo’ but then issued a correction. The implication of that amendment is that ‘Galaxy’ is a brand reserved solely for Samsung’s Android-based products, hence its disappearance from these latest smart watches.
The company’s announcement pointed to the smart watches’ role in controlling other electronic products in the home, such as TV or set-top box through a WatchON Remote app with an embedded sensor. There is also the addition of a standalone music player with Bluetooth headset which means the user does not need their smartphone to listen to music.
Both the smart watches will be compatible with more than a dozen Samsung Galaxy smartphones at launch, the company said.
There is also a reference to how the devices can be used to create personal fitness regimes for users. Among their features is acting as a heart rate monitor.