Samsung's next Galaxy Watch coming this summer has a whole new Google look

The first look at the One UI Watch interface, which will also arrive on other watches this fall.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Samsung's new watch software runs Google Play apps.

Samsung/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

Samsung's next Galaxy watch is being announced at an Unpacked event later this summer, and its new Google co-designed OS and interface is called One UI Watch. The news arrived Monday at a virtual Samsung event as part of this year's Mobile World Congress

But all Samsung showed for now is the software interface. The actual watch design remains unknown, although recent possible leaks of the design suggest that it'll look similar to Samsung's more minimal Galaxy Watch Active 2 design (and possibly be called the Galaxy Watch 4).

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Samsung aims for the ultimate Android watch

Watch this: Samsung's One UI Watch sneak peek

Google and Samsung announced a partnership to redesign future Google Wear watches earlier this year and Samsung's Galaxy watch will be the first device to get the software. Other watches running the new One UI Watch software, including Fossil, are expected later in the year. The One UI interface promises to be more instantly connected to the paired phone and hook into more of the phone's core settings, much like the Apple Watch. Compatible apps should load on the phone and instantly cross-load on the watch.


Google Maps on One Watch UI and other very Google-looking apps.

Samsung/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

The first look at One UI looks, well, very Google-like. The features shown off are pretty straightforward: apps swiping up, world clocks syncing between phone and watch, and universal settings like Do Not Disturb appearing on watch and phone at the same time.

The One UI Watch software loads apps via Google Play, with many (but not necessarily all) Wear OS apps available to load. The Samsung announcement confirms Adidas Running, Golfbuddy Smart Caddie, Strava, Swim.com, Calm, Sleep Cycle, Spotify, YouTube Music and Google Maps as being some of the supported apps. Samsung also confirmed the new platform will support eSIM with LTE connectivity, just like the Galaxy Watch 3, so these new watches can be used without your phone.


Syncing settings between phone and watch should be instant (as you'd expect).

Samsung/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

"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," Google's Sameer Samat says of the new watch in Samsung's press release. 

Some of Samsung's apps from previous Galaxy Watches will be available via Google Play for One UI Watch, but it's not clear which ones yet. Samsung also showed off its watch face designer software for developers or watch face enthusiasts, but it's hard to judge how capable the designer is from the brief glimpse in Samsung's demo video.

Samsung also revealed that owners of Tizen-based watches like the current Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 won't be left out in the cold, guaranteeing software updates and support for that platform up to three years after the initial release date.