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Galaxy Watch or Gear S4? What to expect from Samsung’s new smartwatch

We take a look at rumoured features of the new Samsung watch, including blood-pressure monitoring, design and the battle between Tizen and Wear OS

There’s a lot of hype around the next Samsung smartwatch. Is it called the Galaxy Watch or the Gear S4? Will it run Tizen or Wear OS? Can it monitor blood pressure? We take a look at the reports and rumours, and address the features that might have a starring role.

The next Samsung event, where the Galaxy Note 9 will be unveiled, is on 9 August and it’s believed that this is where the Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, or Gear S4, will be revealed. Read on to find out what we know so far, and what to expect.

Best Buy smartwatches – these are the devices that have aced our tests.

The name game – Samsung Gear S4 vs Galaxy smartwatch

One of the first questions to sort out is what we call the next Samsung flagship smartwatch? Up until recently it’s been fairly widely known as the Gear S4, but evidence is mounting that it may actually be given the ‘Galaxy’ name, like Samsung’s phones.

Back in May, Samsung received a patent for the Galaxy name, and recently a logo registration for the Samsung Galaxy Watch was spotted by Galaxy Club. All signs point to there being a Galaxy smartwatch.

The remaining question is whether the Galaxy smartwatch will be part of a new range of Samsung smartwatches that will launch alongside the Gear offerings, or if all Samsung wearables will now be launched with the Galaxy moniker. There’s no clear news on this yet.

Tizen vs Wear OS

Giving its smartwatches the Galaxy moniker may simply be a way for Samsung to bring the Samsung wearables range in line with their well-known Galaxy smartphone offerings. But it could be a hint of a bigger overhaul: Galaxy smartphones all run on Android operating system rather than Samsung’s Tizen, so could this point to a Samsung Wear OS smartwatch?

There are plenty of rumours suggesting that’s the case. Well-known, and often reliable, leaker Evan Blass tweeted back in May that Samsung watches running Wear OS had been seen on the wrists of Samsung employees, although later reported that these were made by Google and gifted to Samsung employees so wouldn’t be available for the public. Since then another leaker has claimed that the next watch will be based on Wear OS. So far, so confusing.

Nothing is known for certain – but what if Samsung launches a Wear OS smartwatch? While it would give consistency across products, we’d be a little disappointed. Tizen isn’t perfect – it still doesn’t have as many apps as Wear OS or WatchOS 4 – but it’s user friendly and well-integrated on Gear smartwatches. There are already plenty of Wear OS smartwatches to choose from and instead of a Samsung option, we’d like to see continued commitment to developing the Tizen platform.

Health tracking – a smartwatch that can track blood pressure?

A new claimed feature of the next Samsung smartwatch is the ability to track blood pressure. Samsung already has a patent for light technology that can track blood pressure, so while we haven’t seen this feature on previous Gear watches, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock.

Advanced health-tracking is becoming more popular in the world of wearables as brands aim to provide a more holistic approach to health and fitness monitoring. Apple also has a patent for blood-pressure monitoring technology, while Asus recently announced the VivoWatch BP watch that promises medical-grade blood-pressure monitoring on your wrist.

At CES 2018, Omron unveiled the HeartGuide smartwatch, designed to monitor blood pressure using an inflatable blood-pressure monitor wrist-cuff. It’s not just blood pressure, either, as plenty of brands are launching wearables with features for relaxation and sleep too.

Virtual assistant – S Voice or Bixby?

It took a little while for Bixby to finally launch on Samsung Galaxy smartphones, and no Gear smartwatches have featured Samsung’s own virtual assistant yet. That could be about to change. It’s been reported, by SamMobile, that Bixby is confirmed for the next Samsung smartwatch. This isn’t a huge surprise, as it’s likely to simply replace S Voice.

Design

We know virtually nothing about the design of the next Samsung offering, but it’s almost a given that it will have a round display. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the rotating bezel seen on the previous Gear smartwatches too.

The current flagship smartwatch, the Gear S3, is pretty weighty and we’d prefer to see a smaller figure on the scales for the next launch. Given the number of sensors we typically see in Samsung wearables, it’s unlikely to make it on to any featherweight lists, but we’d be happy if it weighed in somewhere between the slimline Gear Sport and Gear S3.

We’ll keep you updated with features as they emerge. If you can’t wait, head over to our Samsung smartwatch reviews to find out how previous iterations have performed.

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