Samsung has announced the next major iteration of its smartwatch software platform - One UI 5 Watch - and teased a number of improvements to sleep monitoring, fitness tracking, and safety features.
The new software will be available later this month to those who register for the Samsung beta program, with Samsung indicating in its announcement post that the full update will land later this year.
The company's Wear OS watches - the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 series - are the only compatible smartwatches.
Going off previous years, we would expect the full rollout to be timed with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 around August, though very few rumors have emerged thus far regarding the potential upcoming smartwatch.
Whatever the case, existing Samsung smartwatches are getting a boatload of new features, with the company looking to make some long overdue upgrades and refinements to key areas.
Sleep tracking, arguably, will receive the biggest overhaul.
Samsung notes that sleep scores will now be more prominent on the wrist, while those who use the Samsung Sleep Coaching feature will also see these insights from their Galaxy Watch.
A neat little integration is also coming for those with Samsung SmartThings devices, with the watch able to automatically detect when you're sleeping and turn off connected smart home devices.
The next software skin will also help Samsung catch up to the likes of Garmin and Apple, too, with personalized heart rate zones coming to compatible devices.
Once the user has completed a 10-minute outdoor workout, the watch is able to establish these zones based on your VO2 Max.
Current versions of the software do offer heart rate zone support, but, until now, these haven't been personalized or customizable - instead basing things on the catch-all age method.
Galaxy Watch 5 Pro owners will also be getting an outdoor workout tracking boost, with the Route Workout expanding to include running and walking.
This was previously limited to cycling and hiking workouts.
And finally, the Emergency SOS feature is getting an upgrade; users will now be able to send location data directly to emergency services, with local responders also able to view any provided medical information.
This is improved from the system available through One UI 4 Watch, which only offers support for users to call and notify pre-selected emergency contacts.
While all these upgrades will no doubt be well received by Samsung owners, it's also fair to point out that nothing truly groundbreaking has been announced just yet.
That could still come with the full reveal - especially if it relates to features powered by new, upcoming hardware - but this initial crop would only really help Samsung's devices get up to speed with its rivals.
Given that the Pixel Watch also recently helped Google surge ahead of Samsung in Q4 shipments, as well, we'd suggest that Samsung has plenty of work to do to regain its share of the market.
One UI 5 Watch should help with that goal, but a lot still hinges on the company's 2023 range of smartwatches.
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