Has Google handed Samsung a MASSIVE Strategic Head Start?

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Google doubles down with Samsung

If it looks unusual, sounds unusual and smells unusual then…it’s probably perfectly normal…right?

Must Read: Detailed Samsung Galaxy Watch Review

Is Wear OS about to be wiped clean of competition?

Google has quietly confirmed that a significantly different new version of Wear OS (v3.0) will be released soon but there have been mixed messages about what will be supported, what can be upgraded and when it will all happen.

Today’s update from Google says that it “expects our partners to be able to roll out the system update starting in mid to second half of 2022.” And Google has so far only confirmed support for Samsung’s next watch and other brands’ Wear OS watches running on Qualcomm’s SnapDragon Wear 4100/4100+ chip.

Ignoring chip shortages and cutting a long and tortuous story short, this means that the only watches running Wear OS 4 in 2021 could be the Samsung Galaxy Watch4, a Fitbit Whatever and as yet unannounced models from Mobvoi and Fossil.

So even the existing Wear OS watches that run on 4100 processors could have to wait a year for the upgrade and maybe the earlier 3100 models will never get the upgrade as some other commentators suspected.

Google says that it “expects our partners to be able to roll out the system update starting in mid to second half of 2022.….”

If you read that quote again you might even read that Mobvoi and Fossil have to wait until next year for any of their watches to have Wear OS 3. (I don’t think so)

One Plausible Scenario

Let’s say you’ve just bought a large and financially unsuccessful wearables company. Let’s say you ‘own’ a Wearables operating system. Let’s say you’ve just brought on board one of your potentially biggest future competitors to work with you on your operating system. Maybe as a sweetener to that deal, you agree to buy their chips for future models of your watches. Win, Win.

Ignoring the pesky Apple Watch 7 (Sep 2021), that sounds like a cosy duopoloy to me.

It kinda ignores your biggest historical ally, Fossil. And it kinda ignores your recently loyal purveyor of all the latest hardware tech, Mobvoi/TicWatch. And it kinda ignores your earlier chip provider who didn’t seem to innovate too much for anyone’s liking.

Well, it ignores them for a year. If all the bit players are only allowed to get on the Wear OS 3 bandwagon in mid-2022 then Samsung could well have already made significant inroads into the space currently occupied by Fossil and Mobvoi watches. Google will also sell Fitbit-branded watches and if they have Samsung chips in them, Samsung gains there too (#speculation)

Still, large corporates do have somewhat of a history of ruthlessness in the pursuit of their billions.

Really? Will that happen?

No. I don’t think so. But it’s worth thinking about.

I’m pretty confident that Qualcomm-based Fossil & Mobvoi watches will arrive soon running Wear OS 3 on Qualcomm. However, in the long term perhaps Google-Samsung could be a competitor to Apple and if that’s your end game you might as well start working to make that happen now.

My current short-term hopes and expectations are that by the end of September we will see 4 to 6 new Wear OS 3 watches. I have no concrete intel but the FCC or Trademark registries are always worth a look if you have time on your hands.

Info: New Qualcomm chips in 2022

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