Huawei Could Switch to Tizen from Android Wear for its Smartwatches

Huawei is reportedly frustrated that Google won't allow it to skin Android Wear


It’s about time we saw another smartwatch from Huawei. It’s over a year since Huawei finally released the Watch to the market after several delays. So, we are betting that we will get to see a new Huawei smartwatch, the successor to last year’s gorgeous Huawei Watch, this November at the Mate 9 launch event.

However, if news coming in from the East are anything to go by, the second generation Huawei Watch (and other smartwatches that come after it from Huawei) will be very different from the first generation Watch thanks to the software it will run.

Sources quoted by Korean media indicate that the Chinese device maker has been considering dumping Google’s platform for wearables, Android Wear, in favour of the Samsung-backed Tizen platform.

Tizen is the operating system that has powered all of Samsung’s wearable devices so far with the exception of two devices. Samsung’s first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, shipped with a customized Android Jelly Bean build long before Android Wear became a thing. It has since been updated to join the Tizen bandwagon. The second device, the Gear Live, was one of the two devices that Google paraded on stage at I/O 2014 when it introduced Android Wear to the world. It remains the only Android Wear device that the Korean company has ever made even though it keeps saying that it is committed to the platform.

And now, reportedly, Huawei wants in too.

The reason? Android Wear, which Google just recently announced a new update for, is not as versatile as the Chinese company may want and as such its devices are being limited by Google’s software vision for wearables. It believes that it can be able to do so much more on another platform like Tizen. Unlike in smartphones where Google has ceded much ground to device makers to tinker and toy around with Android as they please, the company has been very clear that it won’t allow wearable device makers to customize Android Wear as it aims for a standard experience across the board. Huawei is not so happy with that. Tizen may be the out that it needs if it is to bring an Emotion UI-like vibe to its smartwatches.

Huawei is a founding member of the Tizen Association even though it is Samsung that has become the poster child of the platform by building several of its products around the platform and growing it step by step since 2012.

If indeed it does switch to Tizen, Google’s Android Wear platform would have lost a valuable partner while Tizen will have gained immensely. Android Wear, despite attracting several big watch industry names like TAG Heuer and managing to convince Sony to dump its proprietary efforts, has struggled to impress in its first two years of existence.