Google's Android Wear and the Tizen operating system (OS) are waging a fierce battle with each other to secure an application ecosystem for wearable devices. With Apple's iOS joining the trend, the competition for wearable devices has kicked into high gear.
According to industry sources on Nov. 19, the number of apps for Android Wear-based wearable devices recently surpassed 1,300, overtaking the figure for Tizen-powered wearable devices. Android Wear is a wearable version of Google's Android OS. Currently, there are 1,300 apps available for Tizen OS-enabled wearable devices.
In August, there were more than 1,000 apps for Tizen devices, while only 300 apps were available for Android Wear-powered devices. At that time, Samsung's strategy to dominate the market seemed to be working. Starting with the Galaxy Gear in September of last year, the Korean tech giant released the Tizen-based Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo in May, and recently the Gear S. The company has tried hard to secure developers to expand its ecosystem for wearable apps.
However, Samsung now lags behind Google. An increasing number of Android Wear-powered smart watches have launched, including LG's G watch and G watch R, Motorola's Moto 360, Asus' Zen watch, and Sony's Smartwatch 3. Moreover, the number of developers participating in Android Wear is rapidly increasing.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung was the top smart watch seller in the second quarter of this year, with a 73.6 percent market share. Nevertheless, industry analysts are saying that the Tizen-based application ecosystem is expanding slowly.
With the introduction of various Android Wear-enabled smart watches, Samsung might lose its dominance in the smart watch market next year.
Competition for the mobile application ecosystem has heated up with Apple's participation. Apple distributed WatchKit to iOS developers on Nov. 19, a toolkit that allows developers to begin coding and testing apps for its upcoming smartwatch. The Apple Watch is expected to be released in February of next year.
Since the app ecosystem is considered to be a core element to lead the wearable device market, the competition between Samsung, Apple, and Google for the area is likely to be more intense.
An industry source pointed out, “The Apple Watch can only sync with the iPhone 5 and 6, and Samsung's Gear series with some of the Galaxy devices. Consequently, the use of Tizen OS and Apple's iOS is not so rapidly expanding compared to Google's Android Wear.” The source added, “Strategies for open-source wearable devices are badly needed right now.”