Polar could be plotting a return to Wear OS, the company's CEO has hinted.
Last week, the Finnish sports giant announced that it would start licensing its algorithms to third parties for the first time via its 'Powered by Polar' platform – starting with the Casio G-SHOCK HBD-2000.
And in an interview with Wareable, Sander Werring, Polar's CEO, told us that it was excited by advancements in co-processor technology on the latest wearable platforms, and it was eying a return to Wear OS.
“Yeah, it's an option,” Werring said, when asked if the company would return to Google’s smartwatch platform.
“This is really a state of technology kind of a question. And we do see this technology now appearing.
“The direction for this type of technology largely comes from the chipset manufacturers. There's new technology around which enables CPUs to have an additional chipset hub, and to help you could incorporate algorithms that are proprietary to make them work for a wearable device,” he continued.
It’s not clear whether Polar would manufacture its own Wear OS device or return to the platform as part of its 'Powered by Polar' program. Given its participation in the Qualcomm Wearable Accelerator Program (WEAP), though, it could be the latter.
Werring was a keynote speaker that the company’s WEAP Summit at CES 2023, which brought together wearables manufacturers using Qualcomm’s platform, including Fossil, Mobvoi and others.
“The feedback we got from the partners at the conference confirmed to us that this is really an exciting direction. So, yeah, we expect more and more exciting launches to happen,” he said.
While we’re still waiting for a Wear OS device powered by the Snapdragon W5+ platform (rumors have it that the upcoming Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 will be the first), Werring said that he was excited about the advancements and the potential it has for tracking of performance algorithms.
“It’s an exciting development from a power management perspective, and also the dedication to, let's say, wrist wearable devices or smaller wearable devices. This is an exciting development for the industry as a whole,” he said.
The Polar M600 was the last Wear OS device launched by the company - one that came complete with Polar's own sports tracking and analysis. Since that was announced in 2015, though, the company hasn’t returned - something Werring attributes to being too early to the space.
He believes that the Polar M600 was ahead of its time, and also that the technology has now matured enough to make a new Polar Wear OS device a reality.
“We had to do too much heavy lifting in those days because there was no reference whatsoever for this type of technology on Wear OS,” he said.
“This is the reason why we didn't see it through - and sometimes that's the case with innovations; sometimes you are too early.
“The [Polar M600] was quite well recognized for the quality we were able to deliver in the Wear OS domain. But the effort taken to develop those products in that time on that platform further was basically too big of an effort for us to keep up and maintain.
“So, I would say the general steady state of the technology was not yet there.”
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