The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was due for an update that would enable it to support Google Assistant for a long time. Samsung’s attempt to integrate its assistant, Bixby, was received with mixed reactions, with a vast majority of Galaxy device users not taking to it. Bixby was a disaster for Samsung.
Given that how Samsung and Apple both plan to take on Apple and have been working on a joint plan to achieve the same, we saw the two come together for the latest Galaxy Watch, sporting a hybrid version of Google’s wearable operating system the companies christened, “Wear OS Powered by Samsung.” It was a return to the OS after nearly a decade of focusing on the open-source Tizen, now offering a hybrid approach between the two.
The deal meant Samsung’s devices dramatically improved their access to third-party apps through the Play store, while Wear OS got a big boost in market share ahead of the Pixel Watch’s release.
Another benefit of the partnership between Samsung and Google, especially for users, is the increased access to Google’s services on Samsung’s wearable devices. Galaxy Watch 4 owners will now be able to download and use Google Assistant on their wrist, bringing enhanced voice commands to the small screen.
Bixby will still be sticking around, at least until the next Galaxy Watch shows up this year.
Google has, no doubt, promised Samsung increased focus on Wear OS, which has essentially been treading water in a market dominated by a single player, the Apple Watch.
It will be interesting to see how this partnership plays out and evolve when Google finally launches its Pixel Watch at their Fall event, along with the Pixel 7 series. Google hopes to take on Apple directly and emerge as the defacto Android smartwatch. Whether they will be able to win over first-time smartwatch buyers and, more importantly, convert Apple Watch users. If not, it will likely eat into Samsung’s share of the wearables market.