Samsung’s new Google-based smartwatch software addresses a lot of old annoyances

Samsung finalized this product and Google’s new integrated smartwatch platform at MWC 2021. The company hasn’t announced a new Galaxy Watch today, nor is it announcing what the new platform will be (informally called Wear). These announcements will come later this summer at the Galaxy Unpacked event. But what Samsung brags is a first look at what the new One UI Watch software will look like, and detailed what the new Google/Samsung partnership could mean for future Galaxy Watches.

To be clear, what Samsung is showing for the One UI Watch is all Built on the new unified Google/Samsung platform, smartwatches are just like an added layer specifically for Samsung devices. It’s similar to what Samsung’s One UI does on Samsung’s smartphones. The goal is to have a consistent look and experience across all of Samsung’s hardware and software, and so far it looks beautiful.

The settings menu has been redesigned to look like a menu on the phone and things are synced across the phone. If an additional time zone is set in the watch app, it will show up on your watch and blocked callers will be shown on your phone. The watch is also blocked. Samsung also showed off a new watch face design tool, which will allow Android developers to easily create new watch faces for the platform later this year. It’s still unclear whether Tizen or Wear OS watch faces will work on the new OS or One UI Watch, but the current options are also seriously lacking, so we welcome a new choice that relies heavily on developers.

Samsung’s new watch face design tool.
Image: Samsung

Best of all, similar to the Apple Watch, when you install a smartwatch compatible app on your smartphone, that watch app is also automatically installed on your watch. You don’t have to manually install anything as you currently do on Tizen-based watches, and you don’t have to deal with the weird on-wrist app store that made getting apps on Wear OS frustrating. Simply download the app to your phone and it will appear right on your wrist.

The new One UI Watch experience is expected to first appear on Samsung wearables at the Samsung Unpacked event later this year. Given other recent Samsung hardware rumors, this Unpacked looks like a big upside-down deal.

Updated June 28 at 1:43 PM EST: Added images from Samsung’s Mobile World Congress 2021 presentation.

correction: Samsung’s new watch face designer will be available to developers later this year, not next year, as we originally said. Sorry for the error.


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