The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is on its way, less than six months after the Galaxy Watch 3 hit the shelves.
There’s been no official confirmation as yet, but when it comes to Samsung there’s rarely smoke without fire – and there’s multiple plumes pointing to one of the biggest hardware updates in years.
It looks like we could see both Galaxy Watch 4 and Active 4 launched together, as the generations finally line up.
But that’s not the biggest surprise. Rumors are pointing to a switch away from Tizen, Samsung’s own OS that’s run its smartwatches since 2016.
Read on for the full list of rumors.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 release date
There’s no official word on when we’ll see the Galaxy Watch 4 or Active 4, but with the devices popping up at regulators we could see a launch in April/May 2021.
Samsung smartwatches have generally been released in September around the Unpacked event, which was when the Galaxy Watch 3 was launched. It seems mad to think the Galaxy Watch 4 will come just six months later.
However, the company does have form. The Galaxy Watch Active was launched in February 2019 and it followed up with the Galaxy Watch Active 2 in the same year.
Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 Wear design:
Pictures of the forthcoming smartwatches haven’t leaked yet, but one tipster has suggested there won’t be a design change on the forthcoming devices.
Twitter user Chunvn888, an account that reliably tips Samsung tech, suggested that there would not be a major design change.
The account also specified that the Active 4 would not use a rotating bezel, but the Galaxy Watch 4 would retain the iconic control system.
Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 Wear OS
This is the real head-twister. Rumors and leaks are rife that Samsung is planning to move its flagship smartwatches to Wear OS, ditching its own Tizen operating system.
Samsung was a launch partner for Wear OS back in 2014, but switched to its own operating system for the Gear 2. It’s spent the last 5 years growing a selection of apps, watch faces and features for Tizen, including top-end health metrics such as blood pressure, ECG and other apps such as hand washing timers.
When the first rumors landed from a Twitter tipster we were sceptical. Why would Samsung revert away from its own OS when the benefits are less than obvious?
Wear OS doesn’t have a battery life advantage over Tizen, and its install base is smaller too. And while the Wear OS app selection is better, it’s hardly world-beating.
But a barrage of further leaks now make a Galaxy Watch move to Wear OS seem like an inevitability.
Code in the Samsung wearables app has pointed to a new OS on its way, and references have been found on the newest Samsung smartphones, too.
We’re still not 100% clear that it’s the Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 specifically that are set to get Wear OS – or whether there will be a new range.
However, it may not end up being a total move away from Tizen. The Oppo Watch blends Wear OS and Color OS, so there could be some kind of dual layer for the new Galaxy Watch. We suspect this could be the case given new apps for blood pressure and ECG could need new approval from regulators. But what do we know?
Galaxy Watch 4/Active 4 versions
Evidence a new batch of smartwatches are incoming has arrived via a series of version numbers appearing at regulators.
Notebook Check reports that spotters have seen SM-R84x and SM-R85x codenames appear. These have historically pointed to two sizes of the same smartwatch, e.g. 41mm and 45mm versions of the Galaxy Watch 3 or Active2.
But now a different codename seems to have surfaced courtesy of @_the_tech_guy, with the SM-R880 appearing getting 3C certification (Chinese regulator).
This points to two separate devices, with multiple versions. Based on the codes and Samsung’s historic releases, we could expect the following:
- Galaxy Watch 4 41mm Bluetooth
- Galaxy Watch 4 45mm Bluetooth
- Galaxy Watch 4 41mm LTE
- Galaxy Watch 4 45mm LTE
- Galaxy Watch Active 4 41mm Bluetooth
- Galaxy Watch Active 4 45mm Bluetooth
- Galaxy Watch Active 4 41mm LTE
- Galaxy Watch Active 4 45mm LTE
Galaxy Watch 4 features we’re expecting
Advanced fitness and guided workouts
When the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 landed it sought to offer more running appeal with new advanced running metrics that promised to track aspects of your form and technique without the need for an additional accessory to make it possible.
It’s a feature powered by a company called Myotest, who we covered way back in 2017. Samsung recently rolled out an update to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 to add the same functionality.
Our experience on the Galaxy Watch 3 was mixed, though having only been available on the more expensive Samsung smartwatch, we’d anticipate that the company would look to roll out the advanced running metrics support to the next Watch Active and Galaxy Watch too and look to enhance the way it can explore how you run and not just how far or fast you run.
We might see Samsung also try to rival something like Apple Fitness+ for its Active 4 watch. The company has partnered up with wellness brands like Calm in the past – so it would make sense to do something similar with workouts.
Blood glucose tracking
Now this really could be a big one if the rumors around it ring true. Samsung has already joined Apple in offering an ECG sensor on its watches for medical grade-like heart rate monitoring and it’s also added blood pressure monitoring support too.
Now there’s been some talk that Samsung is prepping wearable glucose monitoring sensors that will feature inside of the Galaxy Watch 4 (or possibly Galaxy Watch Active 3) at its Unpacked 2021 event in the second half of the year.
The suggestions Samsung will offer the potentially groundbreaking feature comes courtesy of Chinese website ETnews who says the sensors have been developed in conjunction with MIT. The concept of being able to non-invasively track blood glucose would be a huge thing for diabetics and even serious athletes, so if Samsung has really pulled this off, it could well give its smartwatches a serious upper hand on the competition when it comes to monitoring your health.
Blood pressure and ECG for more smartphones
Samsung has rolled out ECG and blood pressure monitoring apps for Tizen, but something that’s not as well publicised is that it only works with Samsung smartphones. That means that users of other Android handsets are locked out.
This begs an interesting question: will a move to Wear OS make Samsung’s health features more accessible?
It would seem bizarre to move to the more open platform of Wear OS but still keep some features locked into the Samsung ecosystem. Here’s hoping.