In short: While Apple continues to lead the smartwatch market in the third quarter of 2021, Google’s Wear operating system has taken a significant leap forward in closing the gap. Analyst firm Counterpoint Research attributes this to the recent rollout of Samsung’s Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4.
Monday, Counterpoint Research disclosed market share of wearable operating systems since Q1 2020. Until the third quarter of 2021, Apple’s watchOS held at least 28 percent. However, Wear OS rose from four percent in the second quarter of 2021 to 17 percent in the third quarter, quickly coming in at number two and pushing Apple’s share to 22 percent.
Counterpoint senior analyst Sujong Lim believes this is entirely due to Samsung’s transition from its own OS Tizen to Google Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4. She believes that Google will not be able to achieve much in the field of wearables on its own.
“This is because Google was controlling smartwatch OEMs by customizing the user interface, and they didn’t choose it because of its lower energy efficiency and slow response times,” Lim said.
Counterpoint also believes that the delay in the release of the Apple Watch Series 7 until the fourth quarter of 2021 was one factor.
When Samsung originally announced the transition of the Galaxy Watch 4 to Wear OS, it was expected to add more software to the Galaxy Watch and, in turn, expand the capabilities of Wear OS. Samsung has not only significantly increased its share of the Wear OS market, but the Galaxy Watch 4 has also ranked second in smartwatch shipments. Another Counterpoint graph shows that Samsung’s shipments over the past year seem to have eaten away from Huawei.
The global counterpoint smartwatch model tracker also shows Global shipments of smartwatches in the third quarter increased 16% year-over-year. Samsung, in particular, achieved “the highest quarterly shipments.”