Galaxy Watch 4 propels Wear OS market share, closes in on Apple's WatchOS

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Hands On
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Hands On (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Counterpoint Research shows impressive growth in the Wear OS market share.
  • Wear OS growth coincides with Samsung's increased smartwatch shipments in Q3 2021.
  • The growth shows that Google and Samsung's partnership appears to be working.

Wear OS is finally becoming a thing, and it's all thanks to Samsung. A new report from Counterpoint Research shows impressive growth for Wear OS in the smartphone market share, and the new Galaxy Watch 4 appears to be the main driver.

The report shows that Wear OS accounted for 17% of smartwatch shipments in Q3, gaining on Apple's WatchOS platform, which held 22% of the market and is the single biggest smartwatch OS.

Smartwatch OS Market Share Q3

Source: Counterpoint Research (Image credit: Source: Counterpoint Research)

When looking at the market share by OEM, Samsung was the most apparent gainer, having achieved its highest quarterly smartwatch shipments. This is notably at the expense of Huawei and Apple, the former of which saw a massive decline from the same quarter a year ago. Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim says that this was due to Samsung performing better than expected in the third quarter.

Smartwatch Oem Market Share Q3

Source: Counterpoint Research (Image credit: Source: Counterpoint Research)

Lim notes that poor Wear OS adoption has marred Google's smartwatch platform for years, mainly due to lack of customization, poor efficiency, and slow performance. "However, the partnership with Samsung from this year has gained a foothold for Google to expand its presence in the wearable OS market and seems ready to transform into a more open wearable platform from this time forward."

It helps Samsung's case that Galaxy Watch 4 remains the only smartwatch to run Google's new Wear OS 3 platform with its own One UI Watch sitting on top. This is because Google finally allows OEMs to customize Wear OS 3 to match the experience found on coinciding smartphones to present a cohesive experience across devices.

However, many of the best Wear OS watches won't receive the new update until at least mid-2022, which may hinder the sales of otherwise good Wear OS devices like the Fossil Gen 6.

Until then, users interested in the latest Wear OS experience will have to stick to the Galaxy Watch 4, which already sees some impressive Black Friday deals that will likely boost sales even further.

It will be interesting to see how the platform grows, both in market share and in features, when more OEMs can upgrade their watches to Wear OS 3. But so far, it appears that Google and Samsung's partnership is paying off.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.