I’ve been finding it difficult to get excited about the next smartwatch from Samsung, but a fortnight full of leaks has turned that on its head.
It may, at first, look like it’s just a change in branding, but it means more than that and it has just made me excited about the next smartwatch from Samsung for the first time.
It’s all in the name
We don’t know anything for certain about the next Samsung smartwatch, but the name suggests the company will be putting Google’s software on its next watch for the first time since 2014.
Samsung hasn’t used the name Galaxy in its wearables since the original Samsung Galaxy Gear in 2013, which ran on Android Wear software.
By the time the Gear 2 came out just over six months later, the company had switched to using Tizen software. It updated the original watch to Tizen about a month after launching that second watch as well.
From then on, Samsung referred to its devices as the Gear line rather than Galaxy. Switching back to the name Galaxy suggests Samsung is coming home to Android Wear, or more accurately it’s going to put the new Wear OS software on board.
It’s not the lack of Tizen
A few years ago, Tizen was very limited in its functionality. While Android Wear was also limited, Tizen didn’t include anywhere near as many apps or features.
In the intervening years Tizen has grown more feature-filled so both the Gear S3 and Gear Sport have been far more usable. But Wear OS is still far more convenient as it connects to your Google accounts and has far more apps ready to download.
Samsung embracing Wear OS will guarantee there will be more functions on its upcoming watch.
Samsung needs that right now. Smartwatch rumors are in a much more exciting place then they were at the start of the year as we’ve started to hear positive rumors and leaks for the Apple Watch 4, Google Pixel Watch as well as the LG Watch Timepiece.
There’s going to be a lot of competition in the smartwatch space in the coming months as well since devices already on the market, like the Fitbit Versa and devices from fashion brands, are successfully embracing Wear OS.
Samsung needs to do better than passable, but that’s exactly what the Gear Sport was. Gareth Beavis reviewed the watch last year giving it three stars and summed it up as “the Gear Sport is a fine smartwatch”.
There’s not much more that needs to be said.
Switching the name to the well respected Galaxy brand that adorns the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus and each flagship phone we’ve seen the company launch since 2010 hopefully shows the company has great faith in this next-gen watch.
That said, it may be the total opposite and the Galaxy Watch could be a last ditch attempt by Samsung to make its smartwatches shine with an unnecessary name change. Or it may be the company is ready to properly invite its smartwatch back into the flagship family.
I have faith that it’s the latter and while the switch to Wear OS is exciting in itself, I now have high hopes for whatever watch Samsung announces later this year. My fingers are firmly crossed that the Galaxy Watch will be a thing and we don’t instead see a lukewarm follow up to the Gear Sport.