Google’s Wear OS and Samsung’s Tizen are merging

Google and Samsung announced a collaboration on a joint tech platform for smartwatches and other wearables at Google I/O 2021, stepping up competition with industry leader Apple. As a result of the change, Samsung will use Google’s Wear OS for its upcoming Galaxy smartwatches rather than its own Tizen platform. “We’re combining the best of Wear and Tizen into a single, cohesive platform,” said Bjorn Kilburn, project director for Google Wear. “By collaborating, we were able to combine the strengths of each and create an experience with faster results, longer battery life, and more of the apps you love available for the watch.”

As Google integrates its newly acquired wearables manufacturer Fitbit, the combination would enable all consumer markets to use this platform, creating an ecosystem that could challenge Apple, the long-time leader in the smartwatch segment with about a third of the market.

In a separate interview, Samsung vice president Janghyun Yoon said that the South Korean company “constantly pursues new ways to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” adding, “That’s why we agreed to team up with Google… to put the best of our platforms together into one unified experience.”

The announcement was made at Google’s annual developer conference, which was held online for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Google announced a slew of updates and enhancements to its services, including maps, search, shopping, and images, as well as a sneak peek at some of its ongoing research projects, at the case.

Google teased a preview of its upcoming AI search tool, which it hopes to deploy for more complicated tasks across several languages.

“We’re able to better understand even more complex questions and needs with the Multitask Unified Model,” senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said, adding that it’s “educated across 75 different languages and several different tasks at once, enabling it to gain a more holistic understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models.”

Google launched a beta version of Android 12, an update to the mobile operating system used by three billion users that includes improved privacy controls and personalization.

In addition, the tech behemoth opened its new Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, California, where it will conduct research in the nascent field of quantum computing and grow its own quantum processor chips.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, revealed a foray into geothermal energy as part of the company’s sustainability efforts. This will include a geothermal-powered data center in Nevada and the construction of “North America’s largest geothermal pile system” at its new California campus.

“We need to go beyond wind and solar and tap into sources of on-demand transparent energy like geothermal,” Pichai said, in order to achieve sustainability goals.

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