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Samsung Google smartwatch OS at MWC 2021: One UI on top

There’s a new Samsung Galaxy Watch device coming from Samsung here in 2021, a device that’ll be the first to run software developed jointly by Google and Samsung. It’ll run its own Samsung-specific iteration of that software: A user experience called One UI Watch. As a Samsung representative said today, “One UI Watch will be available for Galaxy Watch on the new, unified platform [Samsung] jointly built with Google.”

Samsung confirmed this week that “its upcoming Galaxy Watch” will be the first to run both “the new unified platform and One UI Watch.” This new device and the software will be revealed in full at a separate Samsung event “later this summer.”

Google released their wearables operating system back in March of 2014. The first hardware partners were announced at Google I/O 2021, with LG, Motorola, and Samsung as the first manufacturers to release smartwatches with Wear OS. The year 2014 also saw Samsung release the Samsung Gear 2, running a wearable version of Tizen.

Here in 2021, Samsung and Google teamed up to bring Wear OS (or whatever they’ll end up calling it from this point forward) to Samsung watches. The software on the first new Samsung watch with Google’s software inside will not look like Google software on other wearable devices. The video below is a full capture of the livestreamed event at MWC 2021 for Samsung. Watch from around 9:12 to see all the smartwatch details:

The average smartwatch wearer will not likely notice how Samsung and Google teamed up for software on this and future devices. The launch of this software and this watch will more than likely affect the average person via promotional efforts by Google and Samsung.

More important than any sort of software collaboration, here, is the power of the two brands together, and their public-facing efforts to engage prospective customers. Samsung is the biggest brand in Android in the United States right now – it is in Google’s best interests that Samsung use Google software in their smartwatches, too.

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OPPO X 2021 rollable phone details revealed at MWC Shanghai

While the fate of the LG Rollable is still undecided, OPPO’s own take on the rather exotic phone form factor is, at least officially, not headed to the market. Ironically, it is also the one that seems to actually be ready for production. At MWC Shanghai, OPPO naturally didn’t miss the opportunity to boast about its rollable OPPO X1 2021 concept phone, both for its hardware innovations and the experiences its extendable screen enables.

OPPO itself admits that an “extendable” screen like on a rollable phone is more difficult to make than a foldable phone. There are more things to consider in its design, like the ideal and safe curvature for the screen, the motors to extend and retract it, as well as the support structure for the non-rigid flexible display. Not by coincidence, those are precisely the three hardware innovations that OPPO made for the X1 2021 rollable concept phone.

The “Roll Motor” powertrain, for example, is what makes the smooth movement of the screen possible while the 6.8mm diameter of the central axis is promised to leave no creases. There’s also a structure of alternating metal strips that provide structural support so that the flexible screen doesn’t fall in whether it’s rolled in or out.

Despite the difficulties, OPPO does also believe that the rollable design opens up more possibilities for user experiences. Those are more on the software side, like being able to have more than one app visible on the screen or using the expanded portion of the screen for messages while the main screen runs a game.

While the OPPO X 2021 rollable phone concept definitely seems ready for use, the company may still be holding off because of one important factor. Interest in rollable phones doesn’t immediately equate to successful sales and, despite belief in its technology and design, OPPO might not yet see a profitable market for it.

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