The changes include the new Google Assistant for quicker and more natural interactions, new apps, Google Wallet, and even an emergency contact feature. Disappointedly, none of these features have a set launch date, but some are arriving soon.
New features and apps to Wear OS
While we wait, let's take a look at what we can expect in these Wear OS updates.
The new Google Assistant will be able to better understand more natural conservations. You no longer have to be so strict with the AI and start every command by first saying “Hey Google” followed by the command description.
The intelligent assistant should, with your permission, be able to understand when you talk to it directly. This Google Assistant update will arrive first on the Next Hub Max, while the Wear OS version has a pending release day.
In the same boat are all the new music, athletic, and communication apps coming this year. Spotify, Adidas Running, LINE, messaging app KakaoTalk, SoundCloud, and Deezer will be coming this year. Spotify, in particular, will have unique interactivity with Google Assistant, as you’ll be able to change songs with just your voice.
Samsung also notes in a blog post outlining the updates that more Google apps and services will be optimized for the Wear OS, but doesn't go into detail as to which ones or when.
Then there’s the revamped Google Wallet, which is no longer an afterthought. The new app will start with support for payment cards. Later on, Wallet will be able to save hotel keys, office badges, and even driver’s licenses on the OS.
And finally, the Galaxy Watch 4 will have Emergency SOS which allows you to contact a friend, family, and even emergency services straight from your watch. Something like this already exists via Early Earthquake Warnings, which will see a global rollout but only in places where earthquakes are more common.
Analysis: Bringing back the old
A common theme for I/O 2022 was the return of old and or somewhat ignored apps and platforms. We saw the return of Google Wallet and revitalizing Assistant. Wear OS was hardly forgotten, but often saw large periods of time without a substantial update, and those we did see were pretty small.
Samsung may not be done. In the post, it concludes by telling everyone to stay tuned for future updates. It’ll be fascinating to see what it and Google have in store.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.