With Google’s I/O conference starting tomorrow, there’s a lot of talk about what’s set to be on show from different developers, let alone the eponymous search giant. However, one of the big rumours circulating at the moment is that Samsung is going to be showing off a new smarwatch based around the Android Wear platform.
It won’t be anything hugely groundbreaking in terms of smartwatch development according to CNet‘s Sources, but it will will give Google’s Wear platform a much needed boost. It’s likely that the interior parts of the new smartwatch will be a combination of Samsung’s own electronics and those from Qualcomm, though they may come in two different versions – it’s not yet clear.
The only comment from Samsung on the matter so far has been that it is “committed to relentless innovation and new products are always in development,” but it wouldn’t be drawn on whether a new smartwatch would be shown off at Google I/O. It seems likely however, considering Android Wear’s wearable focus and many chip makers around the world announcing recently that they had wearable specific chips in the works.
The use of Android Wear is an interesting choice for Samsung however, which has shown a lot of initiative in recent months with the big push for its Tizen platform, which while mobile focused for now, is seen by many as a move to distance itself from Google and rely on it less for the software side of its business. Partnering with Android Wear is pretty counter to this push and shows the company is hedging its bets on where the consumer market will go when it comes to wearables.
It’s been clear for a while now though, that whether consumers go with Tizen, Android Wear or something from another manufacturer like Apple, wearables need their own specific hardware and software, designed with it in mind. As it stands, most smartwatches and wearables are using Android as a platform and really it’s just too heavy handed for the much smaller form factor required for wearables. While Google clearly understands that with its push of Android Wear, it’s also been trying to reduce the performance head room needed to run the base Android, so that while it nails down a wearable-orientated software platform, it does at least have a lightweight alternative that wouldn’t see developers going to Samsung, which is becoming more of a Google competitor every day.
With Apple’s iWatch looming over the industry from the wings, Google needs to push wearables forward if it wants to maintain an edge on its fruity rival.