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Samsung Tries Galaxy Gear Watches Now With Tizen

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watches On Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung announced the release of two new smart watches called Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo.  Unlike their predecessor smart watch from Samsung, which was powered by Android, these new models use the Tizen operating system.

watches To date most of Samsung’s mobile devices have been powered by Android.  Tizen is a way for Samsung to reduce its dependence on Google.  Tizen operating system is based on Linux and is governed by a Technical Steering Group (TSG) in which Samsung (SSNLF) and Intel (INTC) are the major influencers.

watches On advantage of Tizen is that it offers a software development kit to facilitate utilization of HTML5 related technologies for app development.  It is worth noting that Facebook (FB) experienced speed issues with HTML5 and then moved on in favor of native apps.  The problem with native apps, that are common place in Apple iOS and Google Andriod today, is that they are not cross platform compatible.  There is not yet enough information to know how fast HTML5 apps will run on Tizen based Samsung smart watches.

watches Consumers will not notice the switch from Android to Tizen.  The biggest outward change is that the new watch straps are interchangeable, no longer integrated into the hardware.  The concept is very similar to highly successful Swatch watches from Switzerland when they debuted in the 1980s.

watches Samsung clearly listened to consumers and have added features that are stand alone.  Now a new Samsung smart watch wearer can leave the phone at home to go for a walk or a jog and listen to music from the standalone music player built in the watch.

watches The original smart watch from Samsung has a battery problem.  I know from personal usage that its battery lasts about one full day.  It is yet to be seen if the issue is fixed; the reported battery life of the new watches is six days on low use and two to three days on typical use.  If true, this is a remarkable feat considering the battery capacity in the new watches is 300mAH compared to 315mAH in the original smart watch and the new smart watches run on a 1GHz dual core processor compared to 800MHz single core processor in the original smart watch.

Both camera and microphone have a new placement on the watch body, presumably the new placement cures the annoyances of the old smart watch.

Google (GOOG) is responding with a smart watch of its own in collaboration with LG.  According to CNET , Google will introduce its smart watch in June.  The time table makes sense as Google is likely to introduce its smart watch operating system, probably as a subset of Android, in March.

There have been persistent rumors that Apple (AAPL) is working on a smart watch.  So far there are no definite announcements from Apple.  However Apple has a history of being late to the market but learning from the mistakes of others and getting it right.  Samsung’s first smart watch did not catch on but it did provide a lot of data on consumer likes and dislikes and that is good news for Apple, please see Strong Sales Of Samsung Smartwatch Bode Well For Apple .

From an investment perspective, new smart watches are an opportunity for Samsung to demonstrate that it can excel in software independent of Google. If successful, the present dip in Samsung stock provides a buying opportunity.   For Apple, a smart watch provides an opportunity to show innovation that does not exist in Samsung watches and is not likely to exist in the Google watch.

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Disclosure: Subscribers to The Arora Report have long positions in Apple.

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