Samsung Electronics' new Android-based smart watch called the Gear Live is not available for advance order from the Google Play Store in some Asian countries, including Korea. This is due to the fact that the negotiations with Google related to the management of Google Play do not go smoothly.
As of June 29, preorders have not started yet in Korea for the Gear Live, despite the announcement of Samsung and Google that the new smart watch will be available for pre-order from the Google Play Store in the nation starting on June 26.
On that day, Samsung officially announced that it will start selling its new smart wristwatch through Google Play in some countries like Korea and the U.S. However, it is only available in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.
When asked why, an official at Google Korea responded by saying, “I cannot comment on the issue at the moment, since our company is at odds with Samsung over the subject.”
A Samsung associate explained, “Advance sales of the Gear Live have been delayed in some Asian countries including Korea, stemming from disagreement over running the Google Store.” The official added, “We're sorry for the inconvenience, and we will try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
Google hosted Google I/O 2014 in San Francisco on June 25 (local time) in which Android-powered wearable devices such as LG Electronics' G Watch and Motorola's Moto 360 were showcased. The G Watch was also made available for preorders from the Google Play Store.
In contrast, the fact that Google's close hardware partner Samsung is unable to sell the new model on the Google Store owing to problems with sales procedure is unprecedented.
The industry believes that the two companies are not likely to forge a close partnership with each other in the wearable device market as they did in smartphones and tablet PCs.
The Gear Live has the same design, functions, and specifications as those of Samsung's Tizen-based smart watch, called the the Gear 2 Neo. Specifically, the two models have in common a display, battery, and various sensors. The new version can be tethered to Android phones, but the old one is only compatible with some Samsung phones. The launch price of the Gear Live is 224,000 won (US$221.35) per unit, cheaper than the Gear 2 Neo sold at 250,000 won (US$246.96).
The new Android-based model deviates from Samsung's strategy to expand its own Tizen-based wearable devices. Hence, experts are saying that a close partnership with Google and Samsung in wearable devices is doomed.