This week was supposed to be the first day of Google’s big reentry into flagship smartwatches. Samsung is back on board after years of Tizen-based wearables, with its new Galaxy Watch 4 that runs the new, revitalized Wear OS 3. It’s the smartwatch OS that merges the best of Google and Samsung’s discrete platforms together.
But there was just one issue: Google was strangely absent from the proceedings. In fact, aside from a few oblique mentions of working with Google on the software, you might have watched Samsung’s whole presentation and not even caught that the new watches were running on Wear OS at all.
On the one hand, this is extremely par for the course for Samsung. It’s practically a running gag at this point that Samsung goes out of its way to avoid mentioning Google or Android when it discusses its new phone releases. And indeed, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3 sections were full of praise for Samsung’s One UI, with nary a mention of Android 11 or Android 12 or any improvements Google has been making on an OS level to enable those devices to work better.
Seeing a similar dynamic here with the Galaxy Watch and Wear OS 3 — one that focused more on Samsung’s One UI improvements and software layer more than anything that the new Google collaboration enables — makes sense given Samsung’s history.