Samsung shuns Android with new smartwatch

Oliver Smith
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SAMSUNG has dropped the Android platform from its latest smartwatch, distancing itself further from its ties with Google.

The Gear 2, unveiled by the South Korean electronics giant yesterday, will instead use Tizen, a new mobile platform designed by a number of technology firms including Intel, Huawei and Vodafone, in response to Google’s domination of mobile platforms with Android.

It also adds features including a heart rate sensor – opening up the potential for health-tracking apps – and a lighter, slimmer design.

The first Gear, launched less than six months ago, suffered poor customer reaction and was criticised for its clunky design and difficult-to-use features.

“Samsung continues to lead in the wearable technology market with innovative, creative devices that are completely integrated into the lives of our customers,” said Samsung Electronics UK vice president of mobile Simon Stanford.

The launch also underscores Samsung’s desire to come up with new products to revive slowing momentum in its mobile business, the tech giant’s biggest earnings driver, as sales of high-end smartphones have eased in the face of competition from the likes of Sony, Huawei and LG.

Samsung’s share of smartphone sales in Europe has fallen to less than 40 per cent. Just 18 months ago it commanded nearly 50 per cent of European smartphone sales, according to a report yesterday from Kantar.

“Samsung is dominant, with 39.5 per cent of sales, but this is lower compared with last year,” said Kantar Worldpanel director Dominic Sunnebo.

“Its position is being eroded by the likes of LG, Sony, Motorola... which are all increasing their share of sales. All of these brands will be hoping their new releases at Mobile World Congress will be well received and help boost performance in 2014.”

Samsung has not yet revealed pricing for the Gear 2, which will go on sale in April.

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