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Samsung: Our smartwatch has over 1,000 apps

When Samsung unveiled its next-generation smartwatch—the Gear S2—on Monday, there were concerns that the device would only work with the company's own smartphones and offer a limited number of apps.

This was because the smartwatch ran on Tizen—Samsung's own operating system—rather than the widely used Android Wear by Google.

But the South Korean electronics giant revealed Thursday that its smartwatch will be compatible with several Android devices rather than just its own phones and is launching with more than 1,000 apps. Samsung released its early access to its developer program back in April. In comparison, Google's latest tally in May put the number of apps on Android Wear at more than 4,000.


Samsung Gear S2 Classic
Arjun Kharpal
Samsung Gear S2 Classic

Samsung showed off some of the apps at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin and they include the likes of Uber, ESPN, Groupon and even an app from lock maker Yale to open digital locks with a watch.

Samsung is playing in what is becoming an increasingly competitive space with Lenovo-owned Motorola and Huawei launching new smartwatches this week. Global wearables shipments rose 223.2 percent in the second quarter, albeit off a low base, according to research firm IDC.

The Gear S2 is the electronics giant's first round-faced smartwatch and will come in two versions—a sporty model for those "on the go," and the "Classic" which offers a simpler design with a black leather band. It also includes technology such as near-field communication (NFC) for its contactless Samsung Pay and fitness features like a heart rate tracker.

Arjun Kharpal

At the news conference Thursday, Samsung also announced the public release of its Tizen software development kit for app makers. Many analysts have knocked the Tizen operating system for not being able to attract developers and for being niche software.

"They have had problems with attracting enough developers and it's crucial you have apps. I'm not sure whether that is the right direction," Annette Zimmermann, research director of personal technologies at Gartner, told CNBC by phone.

But Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said using Tizen allows Samsung's Gear S2 to differentiate itself from the sea of Android Wear watches.

"Samsung is going against the tide with its Tizen-powered Gear S2 but differentiation in such a crowded market is essential. The support for all Android devices rather than just Samsung smartphones is a major step forward from earlier models," Wood told CNBC by email.