"If [Google and Apple] can make it easy for current developers to deliver a good experience, then there won't be a lot of room for a ... Samsung ecosystem," he said. "Had Samsung started a lot earlier, it may have been a different story."
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Kantar WorldPanel, added, "There is no question that wearables is the next battle ground. One could see it as Samsung vs. Google for now, but soon it will be Everybody vs. Apple."
But other analysts said not to discount what Samsung is doing with Tizen and its probable larger goal of using the lightweight OS for products under the Internet of Things umbrella.
Samsung's use of Tizen is initially designed to allow use of HTML5 for adapting existing apps for Gear devices or for turning Gear apps into apps for other devices. Tizen is considered lightweight and easily adaptable for small devices like smartwatches with small processors and less memory. As such, Tizen is likely to be Samsung's entry into a larger world of embedded computing used in many devices -- even the refrigerators that Samsung makes, according to analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.
"Samsung may be pushing Tizen as a defacto gadget OS, and right now Android has very little presence in the gadgets market," Gold said. "I think the real battleground is being set for the larger Internet of Things, rather than just wearables. I'm not confident that Android can have a major impact beyond phone-related gadgets."
Another of Samsung's motives with Tizen is to separate itself from Google and Android, Gold said. "Samsung looks at Android as Google created and owned, and with Google having nearly dictatorial control over it -- not a position that Samsung finds very attractive," Gold said. "Samsung sees itself as a leader in the industry and wants to move beyond its client relationship with Google and become more of a market leader."
In the emerging battle of ecosystems -- moving from smartphones to wearables -- "the jury is still out on what it will take to win," Milanesi said. She said it isn't clear whether a different OS for phones and tablets than for wearables is better than a single OS for all form factors. In the case of Microsoft, however, it's clear that the full Windows 8 OS won't run efficiently on wearables, she said.
"Samsung is being smart about using Tizen in a market that has not been proven yet and has a ways to go before getting as impactful as the smartphone market," she added.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.