Samsung Electronics Co. 005930, -2.73% said it would make its latest smartwatch compatible with rival Apple Inc.’s AAPL, -1.60% operating system, marking the latest wrinkle in a complex relationship between the world’s two biggest smartphone makers.
The announcement by Samsung, made in a one-sentence remark at the end of an hour-long presentation on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, underscores the delicate dance between the two giants, which both want to expand in the fledgling smartwatch market — while staking out a leading position for their respective platforms.
Samsung Vice President Alanna Cotton said that the smartwatch, which the company released last fall to positive reviews, would be compatible with Apple’s iOS operating system for phones and other devices. She didn’t elaborate on exactly how its smartwatch would be compatible with iOS, and a spokesman didn’t reply to requests for comment.
Samsung’s newest smartwatch, the Gear S2, is powered by its homegrown Tizen operating system, which is itself an alternative to platforms controlled by Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, +0.10% GOOGL, +1.24% Google.
But with its announcement of compatibility with iOS, Samsung appears to be signaling a more inclusive approach on smartwatches, a nascent product category that needs to reach as many potential consumers as possible as it seeks to make inroads into the mainstream.
Samsung’s announcement likely didn’t require the cooperation of Apple, which allows rivals to create software apps to work with its devices. If Samsung wanted to create an app — which is how other wearable makers like Fitbit Inc. makes its devices compatible with the company’s iOS software —Apple would still need to approve it. A spokeswoman for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company declined to comment.
source: Market Watch