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Samsung announces One UI Watch, the skin that appears on top of Wear OS 3.0

This is our first look at what Samsung's and Google's wearable software will look like, albeit skinned over with One UI.

Published onJune 28, 2021

Samsung One UI Watch Hero
  • Today, during MWC 2021, Samsung unveiled One UI Watch, its new software skin.
  • The skin will live on top of “Wear OS 3.0” — Google’s and Samsung’s new wearable OS that still doesn’t have an official name.
  • The two biggest features here are a watch face design software kit and phone/watch synchronization.

At Google I/O 2021, Google surprised us all by announcing the next stage for its wearable operating system, known as Wear OS. Google and Samsung have partnered together to create a new operating system that will appear on future Samsung wearables.

We still haven’t seen what “Wear OS 3.0” looks like. We don’t even know its official name. However, at Mobile World Congress 2021, Samsung announced One UI Watch, which will be the software skin that lives on top of Wear OS 3.0 when it lands on a future Samsung smartwatch. The company confirmed that the next Galaxy Watch — almost certainly the Galaxy Watch 4 — will be the debut of both this new operating system and the watch version of One UI.

Related: Google’s Fitbit and Samsung collaborations could save Wear OS

As one would expect, the software looks a lot like Wear OS but with some One UI design tweaks. The three things Samsung focused on during its presentation were the large app ecosystem, phone/watch synchronization, and a watch face design toolkit.

App ecosystem

One of the biggest drawbacks to using a Samsung wearable as opposed to a watch running the current version of Wear OS is a lack of apps. Wear OS watches have access to the Google Play Store, on which you can find hundreds of apps. Many of those apps are smaller versions of popular apps you use on your phone, such as Strava, Spotify, MyFitnessPal, and more.

Related: The best Wear OS watches: Mobvoi, Suunto, and more

Thankfully, Samsung confirmed that the next Galaxy Watch will have access to Google Play Store apps. This is great news and shows that the base of this new unnamed operating system will very likely be Wear OS or something exceptionally similar.

The video clip above also shows that the One UI Watch skin doesn’t deviate too far from how Wear OS looks today. However, the next video clip shows how Samsung is tweaking designs a bit to match up better with its Galaxy phones.

One UI Watch phone/wearable sync

Samsung explained that one of its big goals with One UI Watch is to bring more synchronization between your phone and your watch. As such, the next Galaxy Watch will sync up with your phone in many different ways automatically.

One example Samsung showed off was the act of installing an app on your phone. In the video clip, we see how when you install Spotify on your phone, the same app auto-installs on your watch. This is a huge time-saver.

Related: The best Wear OS apps for Android

Another example is how time zones will sync. In the video, a phone has two time zones active within its clock app: Seoul and Barcelona (the former being the capital of Samsung’s home country and the latter being the location of Mobile World Congress). Because the user sets this up on their phone, the same setup transfers automatically to the watch.

Samsung also showed off how blocking calls on your phone or watch transfers to the other device, as well as how design aspects of One UI transfer to the watch version.

Watch face design software

Finally, Samsung unveiled a new software kit for watch face designers. The software shows a very simple interface that will allow people to get creative and make all manners of new watch faces.

It’s not clear whether anyone would be able to download this software and use it or if it will be exclusive to approved designers/developers. However, its simplicity does suggest that it will be openly available to anyone.

Thankfully, if you’re not the creative type there are already hundreds of watch faces and watch face stores on the Google Play Store. You certainly won’t be left wanting more choices when it comes to faces on your next Samsung watch.

Samsung is expected to launch the next Galaxy Watch at its own Unpacked event later this summer. Stay tuned for that and more news on One UI Watch, Wear OS 3.0, and more.

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