Google has announced that Wear OS 4 will arrive on compatible smartwatches later this year, with the software update delivering improved battery life, cloud backups, and new watch face tools.
Smartwatches weren't high on the company's agenda during the I/O keynote - which means we'll also have to wait for any potential Pixel Watch 2 unveiling - but the leap forward from Wear OS 3 should bring about some long-requested changes.
The most notable is in relation to battery life - an area the company's own Pixel Watch particularly battled during our testing.
It's not yet clear how much the battery will be extended, but, with the Pixel Watch struggling to make it through a 24-hour period of wear, any improvement here is welcome.
Wear OS smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series have proven better in this department, but the platform's devices still lag behind rival devices from Apple and Garmin for the most part.
Another Wear OS pain point, the lack of cloud backups, will also soon be solved.
Currently, there's no way for users to back up or restore watches without a full factory reset. With Wear OS 4, though, users will be able to securely transfer data and settings from watch to watch.
Google also notes that any permissions granted on your setup phone will be automatically transferred over, too.
These two headline changes will also be joined by 'Watch Face Format', a feature created in partnership with Samsung that makes it easier for developers to create custom faces for Wear OS.
In particular, Google is touting the ability of the Watch Face Format tool to help provide more power-efficient faces.
When will the Wear OS 4 update be available?
The Wear OS 4 developer preview will be launching immediately, but, as mentioned, it won't arrive to the public until later this year.
Given Wear OS 3 was unveiled in August 2021, it's likely the software update is once again timed with Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 launch event - expected in August 2023.
Which watches are compatible with Wear OS 4?
It's not clear just yet which smartwatches will be able to update to Wear OS 4, though we expect more details will be revealed over the coming months.
Here's hoping the transition is smoother than what we've witnessed with Wear OS 3 over the last couple of years.
Wear OS 3 improvements are also coming
Despite not technically being rolled out to all promised watches just yet - something that Mobvoi has now taken the blame for - Google has also announced that Wear OS 3 will be getting some new features.
We already knew that a WhatsApp Wear OS beta was in the works, but Google announced on stage that the full app would be launching over the coming weeks.
You can read our guide on how to use WhatsApp on Wear OS to see what all the fuss is about, but it's notable that this app arrives on Google's platform before Apple's watchOS.
Elsewhere, Spotify is getting an update to support new tiles and Spotify DJ (shown above), while Google's own Home app is being expanded to include smart lock support.
Google Calendar will also now offer more information than before, while Gmail is being updated to include more ways to quickly deal with your inbox.
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