Samsung unveils new One UI Watch experience for Wear OS

It focuses on a more seamless experience between smartwatches and phones.

Samsung (Screenshot)

At its MWC event today, Samsung showed off its latest smartwatch interface called One UI Watch. This software will run on top of the new Wear OS, which the company co-developed with Google. Those who follow Samsung closely will remember a version of One UI already exists for watches — it's meant to make the interface between Galaxy phones and watches feel more coherent. From what we saw today, it appears the latest One UI for Wear OS will attempt to do that too. In a press release, the company said "One UI Watch together with the new unified platform will create an entirely new Galaxy Watch experience."

When Google announced the latest wearable platform was made in collaboration with Samsung, it shared how it learned from the Korean company how to optimize certain processes for better responsiveness and battery performance. We also saw some changes to navigation, like a double click of a physical button to switch between running apps. But we have yet to get a full breakdown of the updated OS.

Today, Samsung showed a few more details on how things will work. For example, when you install compatible apps on your phone, they'll also be downloaded onto your smartwatch. Settings from your phone will also port over to your wrist — the various clocks for different cities you've picked will show up, while the numbers you've blocked will remain blocked. This also works the other way around, so if you block a person from your watch, they'll also get blacklisted on your Galaxy phones. According to a video of the new UI, the layout of the watch's Settings menu will also "closely reflect" that on your phone.

A screenshot showing the new Samsung One UI Watch experience based on Wear OS.

One of Tizen's shortcomings was a lack of third-party app support, and with the new Wear OS that opens up a whole new library of titles you can install. One UI Watch will offer the Google Play Store so you can get apps directly from your wearable. Some of the apps this brings include Couch25K, Facer, Adidas, GolfBuddy, Calm, as well as Google's apps like Maps, Messages, YouTube Music and more.

Samsung and Google both also said there will be a new watch face design tool for Android developers to create more useful options that better display the data their users want at a glance.

While this is by no means an exhaustive look at the new Wear OS or One UI Watch, it gives us a better idea of what to expect. To fully experience the software, though, we'll have to wait till it rolls out to the public (or when devices ship with it) to not only see what it's like but also if it truly delivers the performance benefits that both companies have promised.