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Samsung hasn’t completely forgotten its Tizen smartwatches

Samsung hasn’t completely forgotten its Tizen smartwatches


The Galaxy Watch models are getting better fall detection, new watchfaces, and updated group challenges

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A close-up of Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s app menu
Dan Seifert / The Verge

When Samsung dropped the bombshell that it was ditching Tizen for Wear OS 3, it promised not to leave older Galaxy Watch models in the dust. Now Samsung has announced that the Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Watch Active 2 will get new watchfaces and health features as part of One UI 4.

Fall detection isn’t new on Samsung’s smartwatches, but today’s update will give you the option to tweak the feature’s sensitivity. According to Samsung’s press release, it says you can “choose to detect a fall when you are standing still.” Previously, Samsung’s fall detection feature was designed to detect hard falls when you’re running or moving. Triggering the feature will automatically send an SOS message to pre-selected contacts. That said, the feature is limited to Samsung’s newer Tizen watches and isn’t coming to the original Galaxy Watch or Galaxy Watch Active.

Examples of the fall detection feature on a Samsung watch.
Tizen users can tweak how sensitive Samsung’s fall detection feature is.
Image: Samsung

Another small health feature update is Group Challenges, which lets you keep track of the competition from your wrist. All four smartwatches will also get 10 new watch faces that launched this past summer with the Galaxy Watch 4. As for when all these updates will arrive, Samsung says they’re coming to Bluetooth devices first, with the LTE rollout coming sometime later. The company also says you’ll need to update to the latest Galaxy Wearable app and Galaxy Watch plugin.

A showcase of the 10 new watch faces
The new watch faces for the Galaxy Watch 4 are coming to older models.
Image: Samsung

Altogether these aren’t earth-shattering updates, but it’s encouraging to see Samsung hasn’t abandoned its Tizen smartwatches — particularly since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Galaxy Watch 3 were still fresh when Samsung announced it was giving up on Tizen. Google has also been steadily adding and improving features in Wear OS 2, including Gboard and a revamped Play Store. It’s especially important to see Samsung and Google support the older hardware, given the switch to the new unified Wear OS 3 will be a bumpy one. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 lineup represents the only smartwatches that have the platform right now, and a mere handful of existing Wear OS watches will be eligible to upgrade in 2022.

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