Why Samsung’s Galaxy Watch needs to support the S Pen

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the best smartwatches on the market. Until 2021, Samsung’s smartwatches ran on a custom operating system called Tizen. But with the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 series, the company announced a major overhaul of its operating system for smartwatches.

It rebuilt the smartwatch interface based on Google’s Wear OS, bringing new features and better app support, while maintaining a familiar-looking interface. And while I love using Samsung’s smartwatches, I think they could be even better with the S Pen.

Why S Pen support for the Galaxy Watch makes sense

Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

While the Galaxy Watch is a feature-rich smartwatch, Samsung’s bountiful ecosystem leaves room for another input method that might tie the experience together more cohesively: S Pen support.

The S Pen has been essential in helping Samsung’s flagship Note and Tab series stand out from the crowd. Most of Samsung’s high-end mobile devices now support the stylus, including the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 4. But the Galaxy Watch was left in the dust.

I’ve put together a list of reasons why I think S Pen support on the Galaxy Watch is the missing piece Samsung needs to complete its ecosystem. It may seem like a strange request at first, but I think it’s exactly what Samsung needs.

Samsung’s stylus expertise is unmatched

Galaxy S22 Ultra Stylus and Note 20 Ultra S Pen.
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Samsung is a market leader when it comes to devices that support pen input. Despite other brands’ transient relationship with Android tablets, Samsung has always been committed to S Pen-equipped devices, whether in the form of the Galaxy Tab line or the Galaxy Note (now merged into the Galaxy S series). Ultra).

The company’s expertise and history in making devices that support the S Pen gives it a fair advantage – in making stylus-enabled devices – over any other brand, including Apple. .

Likewise, Samsung is the leader among display makers, holding the largest market share of OLED screens for smartphones. It is also among the leading producers of smartwatch screens, while its biggest competitor in the battle for a tighter ecosystem – Apple – has virtually outsourced all of its manufacturing. Samsung is a major display supplier for Apple, which is expected to source over 80 million OLED displays from the Korean giant for the upcoming iPhone 14 series.

With its stronghold in the markets for high-end OLED displays for smartwatches and displays that support stylus input, Samsung has a unique position from which it can lead the industry if it chooses to. add S Pen support to the Galaxy Watch.

Getting the most out of mature smartwatch software

Quick Settings Panel on the Galaxy Watch 5.
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There’s no denying that as modern user interfaces become cluttered with more and more features, pointing accuracy becomes imperative, especially for power users. The S Pen is a marvel in pointing devices, and support for the Galaxy Watch solidifies its position as the most sought-after input method choice for users.

Meanwhile, smartwatch brands have spent considerable time selling watches as extensions of smartphones, allowing users to perform more trivial tasks such as checking messages, checking a caller’s value, making scroll through news headlines or interact with voice assistants to control smart devices. Until the smartphone is completely dissolved over time and replaced by more immersive gadgets, the usefulness – and our reliance on – smartwatches will only increase.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 with S Pen from Galaxy S22 Ultra on blue background.
Tushar Mehta/Digital Trends

More importantly, the silicon at the heart of Wear OS smartwatches is finally starting to mature after nearly a year of neglect and poor performance. Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon W5 and W5+ Gen 1 smartwatch platforms are based on the much more sophisticated 4nm manufacturing process than the 12nm manufacturing process of its predecessor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+. This allows for a 100% performance boost on new chips.

Despite switching to Snapdragon chips for the majority of its flagship devices, Samsung still uses proprietary Exynos chips on the Galaxy Wear line. Both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 series are powered by the same Exynos W920 chip which, although manufactured in a slightly less refined 5nm process, features relatively newer CPU cores.

If we assume this is linear growth, smartwatches released in a few years could be as powerful as smartphones today, if not as powerful as devices from the same era. In such a scenario, a very meticulous S Pen will be a valid and valuable input option.

Wireless gestures and extended compatibility

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 with S Pen.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Samsung’s S Pen line has several tricks up its sleeves, many of which have nothing to do with writing. In addition to functioning as a pointing and annotation device, the S Pen functions as a remote control for supported smartphones or Galaxy Tabs.

Using the built-in motion sensors, the S Pen can detect air gestures made by a user. Using these remote gestures, you can click images, navigate slides in a presentation, control music and media playback, or even just navigate the One UI interface to open and use apps without focus on the screen.

Considering these features, the S Pen could further enhance the experience on a Galaxy Watch through remote gestures, especially when someone is deep in work on other Samsung devices.

Man using S Pen with Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/ Digital Trends

While the Galaxy S22 Ultra – the spiritual successor to the Note series – features an integrated S Pen, the company also sells the S Pen Fold Edition for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 smartphones. There’s also the S Pen Pen Pro, which works with Galaxy Tab series and Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Samsung has already shown it’s ready to adapt the S Pen for a foldable stand and more advanced features. What’s stopping it from adding to the lineup with a Galaxy Watch version?

Samsung needs to go the extra mile

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Watch 5.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

Despite the hardware excellence, Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem still lags behind Apple’s walled garden. The most obvious reason for this lag is the exclusivity guaranteed by Apple, mainly in terms of the software experience. Unlike Samsung – which shares Android on smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows on Galaxy Book laptops with other manufacturers – Apple’s ecosystem is woven using software that it consciously limits itself to. himself.

Besides their principles regarding software ownership and distribution, Apple and Samsung differ on another major point. While Samsung is a global leader with prowess in making compelling and revolutionary hardware, Apple thrives as a design company that creates tools that make people’s lives better. It also means that Samsung is targeting a different set of users – those who want unparalleled performance from their gadgets, but without giving up the flexibility of open and inclusive operating systems like Android and Windows.

Although both scenarios are experiential, Samsung’s prosperity depends on specific hardware. In such a case, S Pen support on the Galaxy Watch can potentially be the secret weapon that guarantees a unifying experience across all Samsung devices, creating the perfect ecosystem without any ingredients from Apple.

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