While Apple remains the market leader in smartwatches in the third quarter of 2021, Google’s Wear OS has made great progress toward closing the gap. Samsung’s recent adoption of Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4 is credited with the rise, according to Counterpoint Research.
Counterpoint Research published market share figures for wearable operating systems for the first quarter of 2020 on Monday. Apple’s watchOS has maintained a 28 percent market share through Q3 2021. Wear OS, on the other hand, jumped from 4% in Q2 2021 to 17% in Q3, swiftly taking the second position and pushing Apple’s share to 22%.
Counterpoint senior analyst Sujeong Lim pins this entirely on Samsung’s switch from its own Tizen OS to Google’s Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4. She believes Google couldn’t achieve much in wearables on its own.
“This is because Google controlled smartwatch OEMs from customizing the UI, and it was not chosen by them due to its lower power efficiency and slow response time,” Lim said.
When Samsung first announced the Galaxy Watch 4’s migration to Wear OS, we all hoped that it would bring additional apps to the Galaxy Watch expanding the Wear OS’ reach. Not only has Samsung increased Wear OS’s market share, but the Galaxy Watch 4 has also surpassed the Apple Watch in terms of smartwatch shipments. Samsung’s shipments appear to have eaten into Huawei’s over the last year, according to another figure from Counterpoint.
Global smartwatch shipments climbed 16 percent year over year in Q3 according to Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. Samsung, in particular, set a new record for “quarterly shipments.”