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.

  • Love my Watch 4 Classic, less impressed by the less than mediocre Google app store...
  • Yeah, Google/vanilla/AOSP apologists are great at s##t talking, less so at productivity. I replaced my old Tizen watch with a GW4 today and wow, that Play store is almost empty. I guess, I made the right choice to wait a few months to jump on the bandwagon.
  • Love my Watch 4. I need the BP reading capacity to be activated in US. When will FDA give approval? Is Samsung pushing them for the approval? Also when will be get Google Apps for the watch. Great device. This is my third digital watch. Love the Samsung Watch 4.
  • The biggest thing that needs to be fixed now (and there are quite a few things that need fixing) is the app store for wearOS. It is nowhere NEAR intuitive. Half the old apps don't work and most of the ones that do are awful. They need to make it so that when you open the Play store, you can easily select WearOS Apps from a menu, which then takes you to categories of watch faces and games. The blame for why this isn't already the case after years of WearOS being on the market, I lay squarely at Google's feet, who are notorious for starting great projects and leaving them to whither away in the wind. This is why I have yet to purchase a Pixel phone. With the Pixel 6, Google finally showed they were serious about the line. I'm gonna check them out in a few more years to see how serious they are.