Samsung Asks Devs To Start Coding Watch Apps

Eric Zeman
Mar. 18 2014, 12:00PM EDT

Samsung and the Tizen Association recently made the Tizen Software Development Kit for Wearables available from the Tizen developer web site. The SDK supports any wearable running Samsung's Tizen operating system, but that's an extremely limited number of devices at the moment, with just the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches filling the space.

Samsung debuted the two smartwatches at the Mobile World Congress trade show last month. Though the user interface of the Gear 2 looks similar to the Android-based Galaxy Gear released by Samsung in 2013, both new devices instead run Tizen. Tizen in a Linux-based operating system that Samsung has spent years developing with Intel. Samsung expects active Tizen developers to swoop in and create compelling apps for its new watches.

According to Samsung, Tizen already has a decent amount of support, with 100 companies lined up to provide apps and services for the Gear 2 hardware when it goes on sale later this year. That's up significantly from the "several dozen" it claimed when the devices were first announced.

Companies from all sorts of industries - fitness, shopping, social media, music, news, sleep management - have stepped up to show their confidence in the new watches. Considering that last year's Galaxy Gear was the best-selling smartwatch, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo have a solid chance of taking the early lead in 2014, too.

Feedly is one such company. It is an RSS reader that for many replaced the now-defunct Google Reader. Feedly is already accessible from desktop browsers, as well as Android and iOS devices.

"We built Feedly to help professionals, students and anyone with a curious mind find and follow the sources of content that matter to them," said Edwin Khodabakchian, co-founder and CEO of Feedly. "Media is now being consumed everywhere, on every screen. We're excited to partner with Samsung and bring our world class reading and discovery platform to Gear 2 users."

Khodabakchian didn't say exactly how Feedly will work on the Gear 2 smartwatches, though one can imagine a steady stream of incoming notifications as news breaks.

iHeartRadio is another company throwing its support behind Samsung's new devices and Tizen operating system.

"iHeartRadio is dedicated to providing even more access to the music, news and entertainment that our listeners love," said Brian Lakamp, Clear Channel’s president of digital. "Wearables are an emerging access point for music fans, and Clear Channel continues to make iHeartRadio available everywhere our users are listening."

Given the Gear 2's reliance of Bluetooth for media streaming, it's not too hard to envision how iHeartRadio will be put to task on the device to control music playback.

The Tizen SDK for Wearables runs on Windows, Ubuntu, and Mac OS X. It consists of the Tizen Wearable IDE, Emulator, tool-chain, sample applications, and documentation. In-depth information can be found on Samsung's developer site, here.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for Programmable Web and other online properties.

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