(Pocket-lint) – Samsung is rolling out an update to the original Galaxy Watch and Active models, providing users with features previously only available on the latest smartwatches.
The Tizen OS 5.5 software update has already rolled out to the Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2, and now a slightly stripped-back version is heading to older devices. Naturally, since both watches were released back in 2018, they’re not able to take on every function of the new update, but users should notice both feature and performance boosts once downloaded.
The most notable upgrade is present in the notification system, which will now show images from different group chats and texts, as well as support for AR Emoji and Bitmoji. Exercise gets a boost, too, with voice guidance (connected Bluetooth audio required) coming for runs and other exercises. As part of the stability and performance tweaks, running and cycling monitoring has also been improved.
The update clocks in at around 290MB, and, though currently only rolling out in the US and South Korea, is expected to come to other markets sooner rather than later.
And, to zoom out from the specifics, this is another example of Samsung supporting its older devices, with these kinds of performance and feature upgrades landing roughly once a year to help its smartwatches remain useable for longer.
The only question, really, is just how long these original Galaxy Watch models will continue to be supported. We saw both the Gear S2 and Gear S3 remain functional for many years after launch thanks to these updates, sometimes coming with big battery efficiency boosts, as well as feature upgrades.
Either way, it’s encouraging for those who want to pick up a cheaper, older model, and those who chose not to upgrade.
Writing by Conor Allison.