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Wear Weekly: Can Samsung’s New Smartwatch Succeed Without Wear?

August 14, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Earlier this week, Samsung took the wraps off the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5, but for those looking forward to the mysterious round Samsung smartwatch we keep hearing about, the last few seconds of the event were the most exciting. Samsung teased the upcoming smartwatch on stage towards the end of their event, and in a lookbook on their website, Samsung teased it in some promotional images for the new phone. We now know that Samsung is planning on releasing a round smartwatch with a fully-circular display and silicon bands that don’t look a million miles away from what Apple is offering with the Apple Watch.

For many, the question will be whether or not this new smartwatch of Samsung’s can be a success without Android Wear? You can have your say in our Google+ Poll here, but let’s take a look at a few reasons why Android Wear would be good and bad for Samsung.

Shipping a smartwatch with Android Wear onboard gives your latest gadget instant compatibility with hundreds of different smartphones. Anything running Android 4.3 or above can use an Android Wear device, and your LG watch doesn’t care if you’re using a Motorola smartphone (as in my case). There’s also now an established community of apps, support and watch faces for Android Wear devices. While the Tizen OS of the Gear 2 and Gear S line of devices has been around for a while now, we’re willing to bet it’s not as well-supported as Google’s own platform. Besides, Samsung seem to be building a new OS for this new watch, and developers are tired of starting over again all the time.

The new Samsung smartwatch is bound to be exclusive to Samsung devices only, which sucks for the rest of us, but gives the device an air of exclusivity, again, not unlike the Apple Watch. Going it alone means they can better integrate the watch and its services into their flagship smartphones and deliver a unique experience. Saying “me too” in a high-profile product launch is never a good idea, and with their own platform they can make their own decisions and dictate their own experience for customers. Over time, things will get better and more apps will become available, but the biggest hurdle Samsung has is whether or not Android users are willing to go for phone and watch, just to get said smartwatch. Especially when they can buy an Android Wear watch from whoever they like and still use it with their existing device.