Samsung wasn’t at Mobile World Congress, but it did host a virtual showcase, in which it shed a little more light on its forthcoming Galaxy Watch and the One UI Watch interface that will run on it.
As you’ll remember, Google announced in May 2021 that it had been working with Samsung on a new watch platform, the new Wear OS that’s replacing Tizen on future Samsung watches.
We’ve not heard a huge amount about that partnership since, but we do now know it’s going to make its debut on the next Galaxy Watch – launching later in summer 2021 and yes, this will be the first device with the new Wear OS.
Samsung says that bringing Tizen and Wear OS together will result in devices that are more responsive, have longer battery life, offer better health sensors and seamless access to more apps and services.
It’s a clear rallying cry to take the fight to Apple, by boosting the performance for Android devices, with Google saying it’s 30 per cent faster, that there will be wider eSIM support, while support for native Google apps is going to be much better on Galaxy Watch.
A big part of what’s going to be offered is a more seamless interaction with the Google Play Store, with Samsung saying that when you download an app to your phone, you can have the corresponding app downloaded at the same time to your watch.
There’s going to be parity between the settings menu on your watch and your phone, so you won’t have that feeling of learning a new interface when you try to change something on your wearable, and there will be simple things, like syncing of changes you make on your phone to your watch – like custom time zones in the clock.
What’s interesting is that this feels very much like One UI on Android, but now a Samsung watch experience on the new Wear OS.
There’s also a big play here to developers, making it easier for Android developers to get apps into Wear OS and having the advantage of a large user base thanks to Samsung’s reach.
That’s going to extend to watch faces as well, with developers getting access to a watch face designer so you can expect a lot more custom visuals on your Galaxy Watch.
There’s not much more that’s being shared at the moment, but Samsung has now confirmed Galaxy Unpacked later in summer, when we’re going to see the new watch, the new Wear OS and, as leaked, the new Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3.
For those with existing Galaxy Watch models sitting on Tizen, Samsung will be offering 3 years of support, but we don’t think they are upgradable to the new platform.