Google Wear OS is getting a much-needed update, but improvements under-the-hood will take priority over new features.
They key improvement is support for the Snapdragon Wear 4100 processors that were announced back in July, so this update will pave the way for plenty of new devices.
Snapdragon Wear 4100 will offer 85% more speed and 25% more battery life compared to 3100, so the Wear OS update will herald real change.
And you won’t have to buy a new smartwatch to get all the benefits. Google says the new Wear OS will load apps 20% faster.
And the combination of new 4100-powered smartwatches (only the Ticwatch Pro 2020 has been announced so far) with the software speed improvements does have us kind of excited.
When Apple unveils a new watchOS every WWDC it dutifully adds some exciting features to the line-up.
And while Google has added things like Heart Points in 2018, it has lagged its rivals in terms of wellness. When you consider Apple has added ECG, high/low heart rate detection, hearing health warnings, fall detection and more – Google is so far behind.
A great example is native sleep tracking. That’s something Apple has rectified in watchOS 7.
Google has neglected to add any user facing features to the OS…except one.
A new weather app is heading to Wear OS. I mean, we all love the weather, but is that really all the development we get?
We’ve somewhat given up on a major update to Wear OS dramatically making the OS a major player.
But Google is content letting its partners build on top of its OS.
Fossil just announced a slew of wellness features developed within its own apps, rather than waiting for sleep, VO2 Max and other wellness features to become part of Google Fit.
Oppo has used Wear OS for its global release and has added fast charging and two-day battery life.
And Xiaomi has even used a forked version of Wear OS MIUI for Watch, something very few companies have been allowed to do.
All of these outcomes are derived from manufacturers and chipset makers innovating, and using Wear OS as a base.
So while Wear OS has lagged, new manufacturers are still jumping on-board, and pushing the platform forward. This could be a crucial year for Wear OS.
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