Google I/O 2021 was full of surprises for the Wear OS fans. The California Based tech giant heralds a new era in wearable devices when it officially announced the partnership with Samsung to revamp Wear OS. In case you have been living under the rock, Wear OS is an operating system for smartwatches, previously known as ‘Android Wear’ that supports thousands of third-party apps and has the essential Google app suit.
Unlike smartphones OS, where there are two big players like IOS and Android, the wearable OS market is more splintered. Ever since Google started neglecting the Wear OS, many smartwatch companies started developing their own OS. Samsung has its in-house build TizenOS, and so did Garmin, Fitbit, and Amazfit. A few companies stuck to the WearOS despite its pitfalls which include fashion-focused Fossil Group and Chinese-manufacturer Mobvoi.
In 2021, another significant development goes unnoticed by many. By finalizing its acquisition of Fitbit in January, Google has claimed nearly 4% of the wearable market share which it is hell-bent to increase. Fitbit’s prowess in health and fitness tracking is going to contribute heavily to the development of the new Wear OS (Google has removed the OS from the name). More on that later.
Prior to the Wear OS release, two big wearable manufacturers are already in Google’s pockets. The Fossil Group has confirmed that it has been planning the next generation of watches with a new Wear OS. And if the platform is actually that good as Samsung and Google are claiming it to be, it is only a matter of time other manufacturers jump the bandwagon.
With this alliance, Google and Samsung are taking direct aim at Apple, and soon we would be able to witness the bipolar nature of the smartwatch market as is the case for smartphones. This rivalry is both good and bad. With only two platforms to choose from, the users’ data would be highly centralized and be at the mercy of two titans. Whereas, this development would spur innovation in the wearable market as developers would now don’t have to get accustomed to a myriad of OS, and can only focus on two platforms.
Anyways, we have compiled a list of the possible developments in the new Wear OS promised by Google and Samsung.
Exciting New Features in the Wear 3.0:
- The performance of existing Wear OS apps would be improved to up to 30%. Also, Google would add new apps, transitions, and animation to the platform.
- The battery efficiency of Wear OS would be significantly enhanced by leveraging Samsung’sexpertise in this space.
- Samsung would transfer some of its best apps to the new OS. These apps would be available on the Google Play store. Whereas, Wear OS-powered Fitbit devices would access their data via the Fitbit App on the play store.
- Samsung would contribute its signature watch face creation tool to the new Wear OS and plenty of its watch faces currently available on Galaxy Watches.
- Samsung’sexpertise in cellular connectivity would be best utilized in the new Wear OS which, in turn, would support more carriers for LTE connectivity.
- Samsung devices excel in cellular connectivity, and the latest Wear OS is likely to get the same capabilities. It will support more carriers for LTE connectivity, as well as more countries and languages.
- The rotating touch screen bezel found on Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is making its way to the new OS.
- Google has pledged that it would offer the developers easy yet powerful tools to build apps and access to useful data to tweak their apps for better performance.
- Popular apps like Google Assistant and Google Maps would be redesigned but would not be introduced until next year.
- Manufacturers would be allowed to tweak the Wear OS as they like on their devices, and as far as the hardware is concerned Google has left the choice to them.
Samsung Galaxy 4: The First Smartwatch With The Latest Wear OS
Though not released yet, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 would debut with the new WearOS. If the recent leaks about the smartwatch are believed to be true, it would have a sleek and slim design like the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which would be available in two sizes (40/44mm) and variants (LTE/Bluetooth).
Like its predecessor, the watch would be 5 ATM rated and military standard approved. Plus, you would have a variety of different colors to choose from.
The hardware improvements would dwarf in comparison to the software ones. We expect full disclosure of the smartwatch at the upcoming Samsung event at MWC on June 28.
WhichSmartwatches Are Getting The Upgrade ToWear 3.0?
This question has stirred a lot of controversies. To put it another way, would the dawn of a new era be the death sentence of old wearables?
Samsung has followed a straightforward approach. The company has clarified that the old Samsung Wearables are not getting the upgrade to the New Wear OS. Rather, Samsung would offer support and upgrade for the TizenOS for about 2-3 years. Fitbit is offering a similar deal to its users.
Even though Qualcomm claimed that it’s Snapdragon 3100 and 4100 chips can run the new Wear OS, the Fossil Groups has been forcing its user to upgrade to a new watch (Fossil Gen 6) by not offering the upgrades for their old devices. Mobvoi on the other hand seems to be oblivious to the whole situation as it has just released and has been marketing fiercely its new smartwatch, Ticwatch E3, that run on the old Wear OS.
Samsung and Google have tried a similar partnership in the past, and the veterans would know that it didn’t work with the Samsung Gear Live devices. But this time, both parties seem eager to contribute their best. We are going to witness some remarkable improvements in the platform. Ironically, this new era harks back to the old time when Apple and Google locked horns for supremacy in smartphone OS. However, we appreciate this step as a whole as it would crank up the innovation in Wearable devices.