Yesterday, Google surprised fans by announcing a partnership with Samsung on the development of a new iteration of Wear OS, which aims to become the gold standard for smartwatches in the Android ecosystem. Samsung has typically developed its own wearable operating system, based on Tizen, so the announcement may have raised some questions about support for those devices already out in the wild.
In a blog post, Janghyun Yoon, Executive Vice President and head of the smartwatch platform team at Samsung, talked about the partnership and what it means for its existing Tizen-based smartwatches. Similar to its smartphones, Samsung says it will support its existing products for up to three years after they've launched. That means if you got a Samsung Galaxy Watch3, you should still be good for at least two more years. Of course, the older the device, the less likely it is you'll be getting support for a lot longer, but that would always be the case.
One thing that probably won't be possible, at least officially, is for Tizen-based smartwatches to update to the new unified platform. Of course, there will probably be someone trying to make it happen, but without official support, it won't be something most customers will benefit from.
If you're interested in the new platform Google and Samsung are creating together, there isn't a whole lot to go on right now. Google promised battery life and performance improvements for wearables based on the platform, with Samsung saying that the "great experiences" found on existing Tizen smartwatches will live on in the unified platform. Google is also leveraging its Fitbit acquisition to improve the health experiences on the platform, so it'll be interesting to see how all this combined expertise will translate to the final product.
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