​Qualcomm confirms Wear 3.0 compatibility – but we need more clarity from Google

UPDATED: New devices launching without clarity on upgrades is crazy
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When Google announced its major Wear OS 3.0 update we were delighted. Wear OS is long overdue an significant overhaul, and the unification with Tizen is one of the most significant developments in smartwatches for years.

However, Google has remained tight-lipped about the details – and this has fast become problematic. There’s been no formal promise of when we’ll get full details, but a MWC presentation for 28 June by Samsung hints that we could get more clarity about the OS and the Galaxy Watch 4.

Now Qualcomm has moved to clear up some of the confusion. It’s told XDA Developers that, technically, its Snapdragon Wear 3100 and 4100 processors can run Wear OS 3.0 – and it’s actively working to bringing the experience to 4100 devices.

“We are working with Google on bringing Wear OS 3.0 to Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and 4100 platforms. Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100+, and 4100 are capable of supporting Wear OS 3.0, but we are not discussing any specifics at this time,” said the brief statement.

There are only two devices running 4100 currently: the Ticwatch Pro 3 and the newly announced Ticwatch E3. This appears to be an admission that those devices will get an upgrade.

UPDATE 17 June 1100 PT/1400 ET: A Google spokesperson has offered us this statement:

"User experience is a top priority for us. We have not confirmed eligibility or timeline on whether any Wear OS smartwatch will update to the new unified platform. There are many technical requirements in order to run the unified platform that ensures all components of the user experience are optimized."

That seems to imply that while the processors concerned may have the capability to run the new Wear OS, there's more to that story. And that could make even current 4100 devices problematic to upgrade – so essentially, we have even less clarity than we did before.

Information vacuum

​Qualcomm confirms Wear 3.0 compatibility – but we need more clarity from Google

Ticwatch E3 runs 4100 – but we got no information on whether it will run Wear 3.0

The lack of information is causing confusion about what will happen to existing Wear OS devices, but worse, brands are launching new smartwatches into the vacuum.

Take the launch of the Ticwatch E3. It looks a smartwatch full of promise – but Mobvoi swerved the issue of whether it would run Wear 3.0. This update from Qualcomm appears to indicate it will, but still there’s no official word. We reached out to Mobvoi and got no reply.

Mobvoi had appeared to confirm older Ticwatches would run the new Wear OS, but has since formally rolled back. It seems as if even brands themselves aren’t fully sure of the requirements about the OS. Either that or they’re obliged to stay quiet. Either way, the launch of new devices that could be obsolete within weeks seems shambolic.

How can we review or talk about new Wear OS devices, when they could already be out of date?

On stage at Google I/O the company bigged up developments to Wear OS including better battery life, Fitbit driven health tracking and better apps.

These are lofty promises – and not something you’d want to sacrifice by dropping hard-earned cash on a smartwatch, to find out it will forever be consigned to an out-dated version of the OS.


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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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