Things are not looking good for Android Wear. In a recent study from Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s Tizen has surpassed Google’s own wearable operating system in global reach.
The study, which analyzes the global market share of smartwatch operating systems worldwide, concentrates on the first quarter of 2017. Strategy Analytics found Apple’s watchOS dominating the market handily with a 57 percent market share.
That domination comes in spite of apparent disadvantages. Apple Watch arrived a full year after Android Wear debuted with several launch partners, and still lags behind Google’s offering when it comes to diversity of hardware.
Like Apple with its wearables, Samsung’s Tizen is primarily linked to smartphones from the company. Despite that limited ecosystem, Tizen had an 18 percent global market share last quarter, Strategy Analytics found. Android Wear had 17 percent.
It’s important to note that, while the Tizen OS is also found on some Samsung smartphones, Strategy Analytics only analyzed wearable operating systems. Furthermore, this study only encompasses smartwatches.
Tizen has been in use on all Samsung wearables since 2015, when the company gave up on Android Wear. At the time, it was seen as an affront to Google’s efforts, though Samsung positioned Tizen as in-house software that was designed to work best with its own smartphone software stack.
In February, Android Wear saw a resurgence. Google wisely examined everything about its wearable operating system and made changes, including a narrower focus on fitness. Thus far, it’s hard to say what (if any) meaningful impact that pivot had, although many believe the move was expressly to combat Apple Watch.
But the real competition may be closer to home. As Tizen Experts points out, Tizen has made impressive market share gains since Samsung used it in place of Android Wear, and there’s no sign of slowing down. While the utility of individual wearables is subjective, market share isn’t, and Google has more work to do on its own platform before it can consider taking on Apple Watch.