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Samsung Closes Gap On Apple Following Wear OS Switch

AH Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic 2 1
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Samsung this year switched to Wear OS from its in-house Tizen OS for the Galaxy Watch 4 series. The company collaborated with Google to develop a “new” Wear OS, i.e. Wear OS 3. And this partnership is already reaping the benefits. Wear OS is now the second-biggest smartwatch platform after Apple’s Watch OS.

According to a new Counterpoint Research report, Wear OS captured 17.3 percent of the global smartwatch market in the third quarter this year, a significant rise from a four percent share in the second quarter. Watch OS led the chart with a 21.8 percent market share. Wear OS was not even in the top five during the same period last year when Watch OS captured 28 percent of the market.

Samsung’s Tizen OS expectedly saw the biggest decline as the company no longer uses the operating system in its newer products. The Korean firm joining the Wear OS camp means the two platforms essentially swapped positions in the market.

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As counterpoint notes, many smartwatch OEMs still use proprietary OS or RTOS rather than Wear OS. A lot of blame goes to Google, which has controlled manufacturers from customizing the Wear OS UI. Low power efficiency and sluggish performance have also restricted Wear OS’ growth. But with Wear OS 3, things are looking a lot different. As the demand for third-party app support in smartwatches grows, more OEMs might switch to Wear OS in the future.

“The partnership with Samsung from this year has gained a foothold for Google to expand its presence in the wearable OS market and seems ready to transform into a more open wearable platform from this time forward,” said Sujeong Lim, a Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Samsung closes the gap on Apple in the smartwatch market

Samsung switching to Wear OS didn’t only result in an exponential growth of the platform but also helped the company achieve its highest quarterly smartwatch shipments. It closed the gap on Apple at the top. The Cupertino giant saw a ten percent year-on-year (YoY) drop in market share. Coupled with Huawei losing more ground, Samsung managed to capture a 14.4 percent share of the market this past quarter. Apple captured 21.8 percent of the market. Amazfit, Imoo (a BBK Electronics brand), and Huawei make up the top five.

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Overall, Counterpoint says the smartwatch market maintained its double-digit growth from the previous quarter, growing 16 percent YoY in Q3 2021. One-third of smartwatches sold during the period between July to September this year were priced under $100.