What you need to know
- Samsung took to MWC to show off the new unified Wear OS platform.
- One UI Watch will closely match One UI found on Galaxy smartphones for a consistent experience.
- Samsung says its upcoming Galaxy Watch will be the first to feature the new unified platform later this year.
During its MWC 2021 showcase, Samsung provided a sneak peek into the upcoming unified Wear OS platform that it's developing alongside Google. Samsung is dubbing its new smartwatch experience One UI Watch.
The name and platform follow the One UI experience found on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21. This is because Wear OS will allow OEMs to customize aspects of the UI to provide a seamless experience between the watch and the best Android phones.
Samsung highlights how aspects of One UI Watch will closely reflect the layout of Galaxy smartphones, such as the settings app. The experience will also work seamlessly between devices. For example, if the clock is set to display different time zones on your smartphone, that will reflect on your smartwatch. Blocked contacts from your smartwatch will also automatically translate onto your smartphone.
Users will also be able to automatically download watch-compatible apps from their smartphones, something that was discussed during Google I/O. Google previously revealed that the Play Store would give users an easier way to download apps to their smartwatches straight from the app page.
Samsung teases new features and integrations coming to apps like Strava, Adidas Running, and even Spotify, the latter of which unveiled that it will bring an updated experience to Wear OS with offline playback. We also got a glimpse of what looked like a new Google Messages experience on Wear OS.
An improved watch face design tool will also be available to developers, which Samsung says will allow developers "to unleash their creativity and release fun, new designs."
Sameer Samat, the vice president of Product Management for Android and Wear, says that Google is excited to partner with Samsung on the new Wear OS experience, which will debut first on the next Galaxy Watch.
In collaboration with Samsung, we're thrilled to bring longer battery life, faster performance, and a wide range of apps, including many from Google to a whole new wearable experience.
The changes coming to Wear OS are highly anticipated among Galaxy smartphone owners and those already using Wear OS. The platform seemed to languish for some time, even as new chipsets were announced for smartwatches. The new effort from Google is expected to give Wear OS a much-needed boost thanks to improved performance and better customization.
While Samsung's reveal provided a better idea of what to expect, there are still plenty of unknowns, such as which of the best Wear OS watches will receive the update.
Samsung's next Unpacked event is planned for later this summer where the company will unveil its new smartwatch.
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