The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4‘s fundamental feature is its new software, a unified version of Google’s Wear OS called Wear OS 3.
Unlike the Tizen-powered Galaxy watches of the past, the Galaxy Watch 4 series is outfitted with a suite of Google programs. As much as the Apple Watch is made for iOS folks, Samsung’s latest device is looking to become the premier smartwatch for all Android users.
By folding into Tizen into Wear OS, Samsung and Google took a major step in merging the market of smartwatch platforms. Similar to how smartphone companies can customize Android to better fit their brand, Wear OS allows augmentation for wearable makers. That’s why I’m finding the Galaxy Watch 4 maintains familiar aspects of Tizen, while supporting greater Samsung ecosystem integration thanks to One UI Watch.
Getting to know Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4 is a fresh experience, even if it’s technically a reintroduction. Some features are great right out of the gate, improving what was already one of the best smartwatches you could buy.
Others aren’t as impressive, at least in my testing so far. Here are my favorite and least favorite Wear OS features on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Great Google Maps app
Google Maps on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a revelation. As someone who relies on Google Maps to get everywhere, it’s been a drag dealing with a fickle Apple Watch version of the app. But now, when I start a route from my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it automatically launches on my wrist with turn-by-turn directions.
When I’m on foot or driving my car, my Galaxy Watch 4 will buzz when it’s time for the next step. Since it’s more interesting (and safer) to walk looking up, I appreciated the cues. With the LTE version of the Galaxy Watch 4, you can search for destinations when your phone isn’t nearby, too.
Keyboard for messages
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 had a T9 keyboard, which I relied for texting more often than I thought I would. I know, typing on such a small screen sounds ridiculous, but I appreciated the ability to send messages in cases when I couldn’t use talk to text or didn’t want to draw my letters. It’s one of the features I wished Apple would copy in watchOS 8.
But it didn’t, giving Google’s software a leg up in the ongoing Wear OS vs. watchOS face-off. When you send messages on Wear OS, you have the option to type them out using the T9 keyboard. All you have to do is click on a number, and the corresponding letters appear in a pop-up for you to choose from.
No Google Assistant… yet
Now we’re onto the not-so-great stuff about Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is missing a killer feature at launch: Google Assistant. Samsung confirmed to Android Central that Google Assistant is not on the Galaxy Watch 4 series yet. Apparently the assistant will make it to the new smartwatches eventually, but no word on when that might be. For now, I’m stuck talking to Bixby.
With Google’s voice butler built into the Galaxy Watch 4, users would gain access to the best Google Assistant commands, including control of the best Google Home compatible devices in your smart home and all the other perks that come with knowing how to use Google Assistant. Can Bixby do all that? I think not.
One thing I’ll note here is the Galaxy Watch isn’t launching until August 27. That gives some wiggle room for updates before the greater population gets a new smartwatch on their wrist.
No battery life improvement
I’m not necessarily disappointed about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s battery life. I’m just confused. During Google I/O, Wear OS developers promised the new software would bring better battery life efficiency to smartwatches running the unified platform.
Instead, the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery life might be slightly worse than the Galaxy Watch 3’s. In the first few days of testing, the smartwatch has lasted about 20 hours before needing a charge. That’s with the always-on display enabled, overnight blood oxygen readings and activity tracking, though. Sure, I might be challenging the battery life, but those are all Galaxy Watch 4 features the average person would want to use.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 with Wear OS outlook
I need to spend more time with Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4. Getting to know a new software requires many hours of testing, especially in real-world applications. I will say my short time toying with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s software is the best experience I’ve ever had using Google’s wearable platform, though.
European Union could force all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging – MobileSyrup
Europe could soon require all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging, according to a new EU Commission ruling proposal.
The commission says the proposal aims to reduce e-waste and the “consumer inconvenience” resulting from different chargers. The commission also mentions that it wants manufacturers to stop selling chargers alongside electronic devices to minimize e-waste further.
“With today’s proposal… USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles,” reads the report.
The report then says that it has reduced the number of mobile chargers in Europe from 30 to just three, with Apple’s proprietary Lightning port part of the smaller list. The report states that roughly 20 percent of devices sold in Europe feature the Lightning port, but that the EU wants to change this — possibly by forcing Apple to adopt USB-C.
EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager made the following statement in the report:
“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”
As you may have already guessed, Apple has resisted the shift to USB-C in the past concerning the EU’s efforts. For example, last year, when the organization voted on the concept of a standard charger, Apple released a statement stating that adopting USB-C would “stifle innovation.”
In a statement to the BBC, Apple said, “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
With the release of the iPhone 12, Apple stopped including a charging brick in the box of its smartphones, citing environmental concerns related to materials and shipping costs. This move also likely saved the tech giant a lot of money. The company has also shifted to USB-C charging with several of its other devices, including Macs, most iPad models and its accompanying ecosystem of accessories. Some Android devices from companies like Samsung, for example, also no longer include chargers in their boxes.
It’s unclear if this law will go through, given it’s still in the proposal stages and must first be passed by lawmakers and several governments. However, it’s possible that in a few years, Apple could be forced to adopt USB-C for the iPhones it sells in Europe.
Nintendo Switch Online will add N64 and Mega Drive games with a new subscription plan – Video Games Chronicle
Nintendo [2,050 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/”>Nintendo has announced that Nintendo 64 [151 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-64/”>Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive / Genesis games will be added to Nintendo Switch [1,941 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/switch/”>Switch Online in late October.
A new membership tier called the Expansion Pack will be introduced that adds selections of games from each system.
Special controllers for each system will also be released at $49.99 / €49.99 / £39.99 each.
The Japanese Mega Drive controller will have six buttons, whereas the North American and European version will be the 3-button controller released alongside the console when it originally launched.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model Trailer
The full list of games at launch will be:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Star Fox 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- The Legend of Zelda (Series) [110 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-series/”>The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Tennis
- Dr Mario 64
- Sin & Punishment
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Contra Hard Corps
- Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2 [37 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/rage-2/”>Rage 2
Nintendo has also confirmed some of the Nintendo 64 games that will be added after launch, including:
- Banjo-Kazooie [66 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/banjo-kazooie/”>Banjo-Kazooie
- Pokémon video games [230 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/pokemon/”>Pokémon Snap
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- Paper Mario
- F-Zero X
There was no mention, however, of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on Switch Online, which had been reported in the past few weeks.
Nintendo discussed expanding the Switch Online library with other platforms as far back as 2019, 12 months after it launched.
During a 2019 shareholder meeting, president Shuntaro Furukawa [145 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/shuntaro-furukawa/”>Shuntaro Furukawa was asked specifically if the company had plans to re-release Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube [174 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-gamecube/”>GameCube software.
“At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom [NES] software, as well as other methods of providing them,” he said.
“We also recognise that there are opinions wanting to play past titles.”
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launched a feature on Thursday to let users virtually wave at friends inside its audio-only chat app to show they are open to a private chat, in a move to expand beyond public rooms that can have thousands of listeners.
Clubhouse, which pioneered the “social audio” feature that has since been copied by Facebook and Twitter, wants to enable users to have private chats, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Paul Davison told Reuters.
“A lot of people know us for bigger conversations, but the reason people stay so long is they’re finding their friends and meeting new people,” he said in an interview.
Users of Clubhouse, which is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, can “wave” at friends online in the app and a private audio chat room will open when a person accepts the wave. The user can then invite more contacts into the private room, or choose to open the chat to the public, Clubhouse said.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Edmund Blair)
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