Samsung's product roadmap for 2014 looks an awful lot like the 2013 version. In an interview with Reuters, the Korean company's senior VP for product strategy, Hankil Yoon, says that Samsung will introduce a new Android smartwatch as well as a "high-end" Tizen smartphone this year. What's different, however, is that the watch will run Android Wear — Google's customized software designed specifically for wearables — and that the phone might actually ship this time around.
Samsung's first attempt at putting together an advanced smartwatch based on Android, the Galaxy Gear, met with a very rough reception at the tail end of last year, and the company quickly switched to its own Tizen software for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. In emailed comments to The Verge, Samsung has confirmed Yoon's timeline of a 2014 release for its new smartwatch and clarified that it will indeed be using Android Wear. Together with the Gear Fit, which runs its own custom software, Samsung will soon be supporting three different operating systems for its wearable devices.
The Android juggernaut embraces Wear
As to the promise of a high-end phone built around Samsung's Tizen OS, it echoes what the company was saying almost exactly a year ago. The original plan did not pan out due to "poor market conditions," according to Yoon. Now the company has changed strategy and intends to narrow down the focus to "a few countries where we can do well," suggesting that the future of Tizen will be in developing markets. There's some potential for this to work out for Samsung, mostly because its strengths — aggressive pricing and overloaded spec sheets — match up well with what phone buyers in those locales are sensitive to. Samsung says to expect its high-end Tizen handset by the end of June and the Android Wear smartwatch "later this year."