For those living under a rock (or hiding in Mom's basement), today is Apple Watch Day. Apple's long-awaited wearable is finally available for sale — even if you can only buy it online. Developer support for the watch has so far been impressive, with some 3,000 apps released for the watch on day one. There's no word on just how good those apps are, but with 3,000 from which to choose, you can be sure there are some solid ones.
Samsung wants that same level of support from its developers and has hatched a plan to make it happen.
The company is teasing a forthcoming SDK for its next-generation Gear device. If you're not familiar, Samsung has released no fewer than six smartwatches, none of which has been very successful with consumers. The original Gear and Gear 2 both ran a custom version of Android. They were bulky but included cameras and speakerphones. The Gear S (which can make phone calls all on its own!) ran Samsung's Tizen OS. Tizen is, for all intents and purposes, DOA. The Gear Live is Samsung's only Android Wear device to date.
Samsung plans to give the SDK to developers before its new smartwatch is even announced.
"Samsung has actively adapted its approach to wearable device development as the leader of the rapidly developing category," said JK Shin, CEO and head of the IT and mobile communications division at Samsung Electronics. "Through meaningful and progressive innovation, Samsung welcomes developers and industry leaders to join this open collaboration effort to enrich and create unique user experiences for a new smart mobile life."
Google already has an SDK for Android Wear devices. In fact, Google plans to update that SDK in the very near future. By teasing its own SDK, Samsung is signaling that there must be something unique and different about its forthcoming hardware. If not, there's little reason for Samsung to release an SDK on top of the one offered by Google. Maybe the new Gear will be the first Android Wear device to make calls. Maybe it will support the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in some inventive way. At this point, we can only speculate.
Considering the massive amount of attention garnered by the Apple Watch, Samsung has likely been working hard to craft its own Apple Watch killer. If the device runs Android Wear, it will need all the developer help it can get. "We are collaborating with our global partners to provide a better Samsung Gear experience for users," the company said. "We [want more] developers to join us on this journey."
Developers can join the Samsung developer community by submitting an application via Samsung's developer website. Samsung said it will notify applicants via email and provide the relevant resources. These developers will be the first to have access to the Samsung Gear SDK.
The current state of apps on Android Wear is limited at best. At first glance, it would appear apps for the Apple Watch are more robust. With any luck, that's what Samsung has in store for the new Gear smartwatch — more robust apps.