The upcoming Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic will be the first Samsung watches to run Google’s wrist-worn OS in a long time. And you know what that means – Google services and apps will be on board, the ones that were missing from the Tizen watches.
This does include the Google Assistant, according to leakster Snoopy. Google tends to offer its products wholesale – if a maker wants access to the Play Store, they have to install the Google apps too (which often leads to duplication).
And even though Samsung struck some kind of special deal with Google, which allowed it to customize Wear OS, the Assistant will be onboard alongside Samsung’s own Bixby (which we saw in the leaked teaser videos).
On Tizen watches, Bixby is activated by long-pressing the bottom button. On Gear OS watches, the Assistant is activated by long-pressing the crown. Both can also be voice activated, but this long press business will have to be resolved somehow – which assistant do you get when you long press a button? And it can’t be the top button since that activates Samsung Pay.
Ideally, users will get to pick which of the assistants is active. Also, this might mean that Google is open to allowing third-party assistants to run on Wear OS (paging Amazon), though it could be part of the special deal that Samsung got.
After some digging around in the APK for the latest Wear OS phone app, the team at 9to5Google found a reference to “com.google.android.wearable.alternate_assistant”, which sounds quite vendor-neutral, so this really may go beyond Bixby.