Samsung's future smartwatch is rumored to use Android, not Tizen

It might be all about the Google ecosystem.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Samsung has been using its Tizen platform on smartwatches ever since 2014's Gear 2 line, but it might go back to its Android 'roots' in the near future. Both SamMobile and well-known leaker Ice Universe claim Samsung is making a smartwatch using Android (possibly Wear OS) rather than its usual platform. It would be the first time Samsung had used Android on the wrist since early products like the Galaxy Gear and Gear Live.

It's not certain just what this wristwear will look like or whether this would represent a wholesale switch to Android. GalaxyClub recently spotted two model numbers that hint Samsung's next watches will come in two sizes regardless of the software they use.

There are no guarantees Samsung will make the leap. It could be a logical move, however. While Tizen-based smartwatches like the Galaxy Watch 3 have key apps like Spotify and are generally well-regarded, there's no question they lack the Android ecosystem tie-ins of Wear OS. Samsung might have decided that the broader compatibility was worth any tradeoffs. It would certainly help Google, which hasn't had much success in wearables compared to Apple or Samsung.

With that said, it could be a contentious switch. Samsung has its smartwatch fans in part through a unique control scheme and strong battery life — we characterized the latest watch as the best non-Apple design. Would it lose that enthusiasm if it went with Wear OS or another take on Android? Wear OS devices haven't delivered much excitement, after all. We wouldn't rule out a custom take on Android that preserves Samsung's advantages, but that's far from guaranteed.