The Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 is thinner, lighter, has better battery life, and is overall a good upgrade over the original Galaxy Gear.  However, before you go out and buy one, you should know that it is not running Android like the original Galaxy Gear.  It is running an OS called Tizen, another Linux-based OS.  So was Tizen the right choice for the Galaxy Gear 2?

What is Tizen?

Like Android, Tizen is a Linux-based operating system but made by Samsung, Intel, and among others.  The Gear 2 is the first official device to be sold and running Tizen.  However, the rumor is that Samsung will soon be releasing a Tizen smartphone with an Intel processor in the near future. The move by Samsung to venture outside of Android isn’t surprising.  They have made 2 Windows 8 Mobile phones in the past, the ATIV S and the ATIV Odyssey.  With that said, are customers willing to pair a Tizen smartwatch to their Android?  It may be a bit of a push.

Why Did Samsung Choose Tizen?

It could be that Samsung’s direction to go with Tizen may not have been all for world domination and total control.  The original Gear never lived up to it’s full potential for accessing things like notifications.  Notifications come in many ways by different apps.  At the moment, there is no way to communicate all the necessary notifications from the OS to a smartwatch, outside of apps that Samsung writes.  For that kind of control, Samsung would need more control of the OS, which may be the reason why Tizen would offer big benefits if Samsung believes that a smartwatch is the next big thing.

Regardless, the move is pretty bold for Samsung, even for Samsung’s standards.  Even Blackberry 10, left Blackberry’s own Java-based operating system and essentially started from scratch with Android.  Samsung is however doing the exact opposite.

Tizen Compatible With Android?

Both Android and Tizen run a form of Linux, which makes way for easy emulation or even full execution of code.  Not surprisingly, a company is already promising this service with a subscription.  The ability to run apps in the future is not guaranteed and it may change in the future.  It is definitely not in the best interest of Google and may one day implement ways to introduce incompatibility.  Workarounds are great, but it is always better to run apps in the OS that it was meant for no matter what the promises are.  Do not move to Tizen thinking you will always get the best of both worlds.

Why Choose the Original Gear over Gear 2?

The first Galaxy Gear runs android and is already known to run many Android apps.  There is already a niche group of users who are getting the benefits of the Galaxy Gear by sideloading apps.  The Gear 2 however runs Tizen, which means you can’t do anything cool with it other than use the features that it came with or any features offered through the Galaxy Gear 2 app store in the future.


Android is no longer just an open operating system that is an alternative to a restrictive iOS.  It has become a brand in itself that people trust and are love.  Introducing a 2nd iteration of the Galaxy Gear without Android may not bode well for the gadget and Android enthusiast.  The original Galaxy Gear sold 800,000 units in the first 2 months.  With the Gear 2 being recently released, time will only tell whether Tizen was the right choice for Samsung.

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