Samsung Galaxy Watches will soon be getting new accessibility features that aim to improve device usability.
Being billed as the “complete watch experience”, One UI Watch4.5 will offer new communication options, add tools for the visually impaired, and streamline menus for easier navigation. Samsung states the update will be released sometime in the “third [fiscal] quarter.” This translates to within the next three months.
Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, Galaxy Watches will have a full QWERTY keyboard for writing out messages alongside the current dictation and handwriting methods. The Swipe functionality will be added to make typing on a tiny screen easier. Samsung states users can easily switch between the three methods for whatever's more convenient.
Samsung is also adding dual SIM support to its Galaxy Watches. This feature only works if the Galaxy phone that’s connected to the Watch supports dual SIM cards, like certain Galaxy S22 Plus models for example. On the Watch interface, you can select which card you want to use, either SIM1 or SIM2. You can sync one SIM to the Galaxy Watch or have the device always ask you which card to use every time a call is made.
For the visually impaired, Samsung is adding the ability to adjust the Watch face to show a specific color hue like grayscale or a red-green filter. Other visual features include increasing font contrast for easier reading, reducing transparency and blur effects, and stopping all animations.
As for audio, Galaxy Watch owners can, through the watch, tweak their Bluetooth headset's sound balance. But it appears the tool is only for listening to music or video as it’s not supported for phone calls, according to the fine print.
Menus are being streamlined as well with all these accessibility options being thrown into a single settings page. And if you don’t want to deal with menus at all, you can map your most used feature to the home button.
There aren't many new customization changes in this update, but it does add the ability to save watch face styles to a favorites list.
Analysis: Setting up the Galaxy Watch 5
Recent leaks suggest the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 may arrive in August 2022, roughly the same time as this One UI update. This would mean Galaxy Watch 4 users and potential Watch 5 owners can have a similar experience.
Right now, we’re eagerly awaiting the announcement of Samsung's next Unpacked event where we hope to see the Watch 5. Even if August doesn’t pan out, September isn't too far off. If you’re interested in picking up a smartwatch, be sure to check out our list of the best Android smartwatches for 2022.