2021 Galaxy Watch: Samsung is dumping Tizen for Wear OS

I still have my trust Galaxy Watch (yes, the first iteration after the “Galaxy” rebranding), and it’s one of my favourite smartwatches ever. Something about the way the physical rotating bezel works with the circular watch face and interface—it’s just something a little different, and it works really smoothly, too.

However, Samsung has just confirmed that the next Galaxy Watch will run on Google’s Wear OS, spelling the end for Tizen on Samsung’s wearables for now. This is something that has been rumoured for awhile now, but I’m still a little confused—Wear OS has fallen way, way behind the benchmark in the smartwatch industry, watchOS (on the Apple Watch).

Most devices running on Wear OS are powered by Snapdragon Wear chips, and battery life has been a major concern with these wearables. However, the 2021 Galaxy Watch models will come with One UI layered atop Wear OS, just like Samsung’s Android phones. This means that you should be getting stuff like Samsung Pay, as well as a familiar-looking UI to play around with.

However, this partnership should offer one big benefit: more developer support. Tizen smartwatches, for all their strengths, often lack a wide variety of apps, so this is where Wear OS might be able to lend a hand. Google has also promised that battery life will be longer on Samsung devices (compared to past Wear OS watches, I’m assuming), while apps will start faster.

The first we’ll see of this will be the Galaxy Watch 4, which is expected to launch sometime in July of 2021—alongside the next Samsung flagship phones. Meanwhile, Google has also confirmed that new developer tools are coming “later this year”, along with new apps from guys like Strava, Adidas Running, and a new Samsung-designed watchface editor.

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If you have a Tizen-powered Galaxy watch, don’t worry. Samsung says that these models will continue to be supported from a software aspect for at least three years (calculated from date of launch).

So, what do you think about Samsung’s decision to make Android-powered smartwatches after many, many years apart? Let us know in the comments section below. Personally, after initial hopes that OnePlus would be the manufacturer to (attempt to) bring back the glory days of Google’s smartwatch operating system, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup is probably the most balanced wearable hardware to do so.

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