The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's default voice assistant might determine how productive a device the upcoming smartwatch can be.
Samsung's own Bixby lives in popular products like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. But all things considered, Bixby is basically useless. Sure, you could ask it to set a timer or even launch a music playlist. Anything more, you'll find yourself wishing you had Google Assistant, Alexa or even Siri on your wrist.
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Luckily, the first of those Bixby alternatives might materialize in the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup. That's because the smartwatch will be the first from Samsung to run Wear OS instead of Tizen, as well as the first smartwatch to ship with the new unified Wear OS platform.
On-board Google Assistant redeemed many sub-par Wear OS watches (well, besides that time it took months for most people to realize the feature broke.) Samsung proved it didn't need the assistant or the rest of Google's programs to make some of the best smartwatches, but the addition proposes plenty more possibilities than users have had in the past.
With Google's voice butler built into the Galaxy Watch 4, users would gain access to the best Google Assistant commands, including control of the best Google Home compatible devices in your smart home and all the other perks that come with knowing how to use Google Assistant.
Galaxy Watch 4 with Google Assistant
When we caught a glimpse of Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4 in leaked videos shared online last month, we saw programs like Google Maps in action. The clips didn't show Google Assistant, but it's difficult to believe Samsung would pick-and-choose which Google platforms to adopt.
A lengthy Galaxy Watch 4 spec sheet posted on Twitter even lists Google Assistant in the "Google Ecosystem" section. If the spec sheet is accurate, then the upcoming Galaxy Watch will offer both Google Assistant and Bixby.
So the question remains whether Samsung will grant Galaxy Watch 4 users the option to bypass Bixby as their default assistant.
We can't say for sure. but we'd guess yes — users will have the choice to change their default voice settings to Google Assistant. Samsung has already embraced the wearable partnership with Google, dissolving its long-time smartwatch software for the merged Wear OS. It'd be peculiar to put a foot down for Bixby.
Besides, Google Assistant could only make the Galaxy Watch 4 a stronger Apple Watch 7 competitor. There are plenty of use cases for a voice assistant on your wrist, and not just to channel James Bond. And Galaxy Watch users might finally have an assistant option they're keen to engage with.
It's not long now until we know how "smart" of a smartwatch the Galaxy Watch 4 will be. The wearble is expected to debut at the Samsung Unpacked keynote on August 11, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.