Before the current rise of smartwatches, Samsung captured swaths of the emerging industry armed with the Linux-based Tizen operating system. However, the operating system is definitely one of the most controversial ones out there, especially when compared to Apple’s watchOS and Google’s Wear OS. To the clamor of Android smartwatch fans, Samsung is reportedly building a new Android-based watch, instead of a Tizen one.
Leaked by renowned Samsung leaker Ice Universe, Samsung will return to its Android roots in the next smartwatch launch. Notably, the leaker used “Android,” instead of Google’s Wear OS. With that wording, it remains ambiguous which form of Android will don the upcoming Gear.
Samsung's new watch will use Android to replace Tizen.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) February 19, 2021
As mentioned above, Samsung had used Android for its smartwatches previously. The last one to use the operating system was 2013’s Galaxy Gear. Since then, Samsung switched to Tizen. At the time, Google’s smartwatch software ecosystem was still in its relative infancy. Now, however, Google can boast a thriving ecosystem filled with numerous devices from various brands. One of the key strengths that Samsung can tap is a wider variety of compatible apps. Though Tizen is still superior in terms of battery life, the Linux system doesn’t exactly have a robust gallery of apps.
Currently, no one knows when the next Galaxy Watch, if it’s called that this year, will launch. Though Ice Universe’s leak definitely carries some weight, the upcoming Android-based watch will have to wait for the next report.
Apple Watch Series 7 could have a new design, faster chip
Apple has released a new Apple Watch around the same time every year since the device was first introduced in 2015. The rumored upcoming wearable — likely the Apple Watch Series 7 — will get a faster processor, better wireless connectivity, and an updated screen.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple will primarily make some display-related changes on the Apple Watch Series 7. The company tests a “new lamination technique” that raises the watch’s display closer to the top cover.
Other changes are mostly going to be internal and include a faster processor and U1 Ultra-Wideband connectivity. Ultra-wideband is used for precise positioning, which can help you track down AirTags, for example.
The U1 chip should allow Series 7 to act as a digital car key and better Find My integration. The company has also been testing a body temperature sensor, but that is reportedly more likely to land in the 2022 model.
Apple was also working on an “explorer” or “adventure” version of the watch for this year, but it has now pushed its launch back to 2022.
The bigger rumored upgrades include a glucometer, a rugged model, and a body temperature sensor, all apparently not arriving until the Series 8 or later. Beyond the watchOS 8 features Apple has shared, we’re not yet sure about the changes Apple’s new hardware will bring.
Facebook is working on a smartwatch with two cameras
The company has ambitious goals
Reports emerged earlier this year that Facebook is planning to launch a smartwatch next summer. The watch will have a display and two cameras that can be detached to take photos and video like you would on a smartphone or GoPro camera.
According to The Verge, one camera on the front of the watch display will be used for video calling. In contrast, the other 1080p camera with auto-focusing will be detachable for capturing pictures and videos. The content could then be shared on Facebook and Instagram and other apps owned by the company.
Facebook is working with third-party companies to create accessories attached to the camera, such as backpacks. It is also working with wireless carriers in the US to support wireless connectivity.
With a camera system designed in-house, Facebook could offer a new feature that’s not usually found on a smartwatch. The wearable segment is already very saturated, making it quite difficult for newcomers to justify their existence. Backed by Android’s custom version, the wearable will feature a heart rate monitor and other features that have become standard across the segment.
The Verge also notes that future iterations of the smartwatch could “serve as a key input device for its planned augmented reality glasses.” It’ll be available in three colors: white, black, and gold.
In terms of pricing, Facebook has reportedly “discussed pricing the device at roughly US$ 400,” which will put it up against offerings from other established makers such as Apple and Samsung. Facebook is working on second and third generations and plans to use technology it acquired from CTRL-labs to achieve its vision.
watchOS 8 brings new health features, redesigned photos app
Sleep tracking now also monitors your respiratory rate
Apple just announced watchOS 8 at WWDC 2021, and it will be available to developers now and to the general public this Fall. It includes new features aimed at calming down its users, including a new tool aimed at helping people practice mindfulness.
The Apple Watch’s Breathe app gets new animations and brings along “reflect,” which will help with breathing exercises and prompt you to think positively.
Sleep tracking is also getting a boost with simultaneous tracking metrics like time to sleep, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and respiratory rate. All the data is available in the Health app, and you can check the log to gauge your sleeping habits.
All Apple Watch users will see new Tai Chi and Pilates workout types in the Workout app. For Apple Fitness+ subscription, instructor Jeanette Jenkins leads the show with subscribers having the option to access “artist spotlight,” which provides playlists from artists like Lady Gaga and more.
The Photos app on the Watch has also been redesigned and includes new tools borrowed from iOS 15. Users can share their photos and memories from the watch itself without ever needing to access the iPhone. If you have HomePods, you can broadcast messages to the network from the watch and view smart cameras on the go.
A new watch face option for portrait pictures lets you zoom in on the subject via a parallax-like effect on the UI front. Lastly, watchOS 8 will let Apple Watch use Ultra-Wideband technology to connect with smart car keys and Smart Home keys.
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