Samsung has announced One UI Watch 4.5, a new version of the custom user interface that runs on its smartwatches, and it brings several new features to the Galaxy Watch. Samsung is expected to announce its next-gen smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, at an event in August 2022. Alongside a new design and new features, the new watches are expected to debut a new software, but Samsung has let the cat out of the bag ahead of the launch.
After years of launching smartwatches powered by Tizen, its own operating system, Samsung made the switch to Wear OS in 2021. The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic were the first smartwatches to come with Wear OS 3 which was co-developed by Samsung and Google. However, just like its smartphones which run a skinned version of Android, Samsung’s smartwatches also run a custom version of Wear OS called One UI for Watch.
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The new version of the wearable operating system is called One UI Watch 4.5 and it is based on Wear OS 3.5. From the version number, it can be deduced that this is more of a performance improvement update that also brings a handful of new features. Samsung describes the update as bringing a “complete watch experience.” The new features of One UI Watch 4.5 cut across communication, customization, and accessibility.
With One UI Watch 4.5, Galaxy Watch users will now be presented with a full QWERTY keyboard with swipe support, as an alternative to dictating and handwriting for entering text on their smartwatches. In addition, users will be able to easily switch between the three input methods during use. For example, a user can decide to use the QWERTY keyboard and switch to handwriting or voice input mid-sentence. One UI Watch 4.5 also improves accessibility by providing users with the option to adjust colors, contrast, transparency, and blur effects. They will also be able to remove animations while those that need auditory assistance via a connected Bluetooth audio accessory will be able to adjust the sound balance for left and right audio output.
Users that need touch input support will be able to change the duration for screen taps, activate a feature that ignores repeated touches, and modify how long temporary functions appear on the screen so that there is more time to take action. Samsung says it has made it easy for all of these settings to be accessed from a single menu. Furthermore, phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Galaxy Z Flip 3 which recently received an update that activated eSIM support, and by extension, dual SIM, will now be able to choose which SIM to use to make a call on their Galaxy Watch. Users can also set a preferred SIM on their Galaxy smartphone as the default for calls, and it will automatically sync with the watch.
Samsung released an update that brought multiple new watch faces to the Galaxy Watch 4 series back in February 2022, and with One UI Watch 4.5, users will be able to create a list of favorite watch faces. They will even be able to add multiple versions of the same watch face with the option to customize the color and complications for each one. The favorites list should make it easy for users to switch to a watch face instead of scrolling through their entire collection. Samsung has confirmed that One UI Watch 4.5 will be released in Q3 2022. It has also revealed that more features will be announced then. Since the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are the only Samsung watches powered by Wear OS, they are the only two that are likely to get the One UI Watch 4.5 update, while the upcoming Galaxy Watch 5 series should come pre-installed with the new software out of the box.