Wear OS has not exactly been the project that Google took the most care of. Its managers have left this platform in the background (or third) in recent times, but now the company has announced “the biggest update” ever released for this operating system for smartwatches. And to kick off this new stage, the platform is changing its name and is now called “Wear” plain and simple.
For this new version of the platform, Google has teamed up with Samsung and will create a “unified platform” for developers and users. It is also expected to strengthen the customization capabilities of these devices, but also the clear leading role of smartwatches: to become monitors and quantifiers of our physical activity, and that is where Fitbit comes in.
Google and Samsung create a unified platform
One of the most significant new features of this new stage of Wear is that Google has decided to team up with Samsung -as rumors suggested- and combine “the best of Wear and Tizen in a single, unified platform”. According to Google officials, this will make it possible to take advantage of the strengths of both and thus offer better performance and more autonomy to smartwatches that take advantage of this platform.
Google spoke of improvements of up to 30% in application launch times thanks to this combined work (at least in the latest chipsets, they point out), but it will also be interesting to see what the improvements in autonomy are. In this case, several areas have been optimized, such as the one that will allow monitoring heart rate during the day and then monitoring sleep at night so that there is still battery left for the next day.
Google and Samsung’s alliance is only at the development level: the new Wear will be available for all device manufacturers, and developers are also invited to work on making this platform a success.
There will be improvements in Google Maps and Google Assistant, which will undergo redesigns and various enhancements. Google Pay will also be redesigned and will add support for 26 new countries in addition to the 11 countries where it is already possible to use it. YouTube Music will also come to watches with the new Wear, but if there is a clear standout in this update, it is the health section.
More focus than ever on health and physical activity
Google explained how one of the pillars of this update will be in the new user experience, which will simplify access to all watch functions but will also make it possible to customize the interface with the “Tiles” that will integrate different types of information on the main “desktop” that is the sphere we use at all times.
Fitbit will be a fundamental part of this new stage of Wear OS. It will take advantage of the company’s experience in the area of health and physical activity, and will integrate features that were already part of Fitbit’s wristbands and quantifier watches into the Wear OS platform.
Among them, the progress of our health monitoring or those messages that motivate us when it comes to achieving goals to keep us active and fit.
The new Wear operating system for smartwatches will be available later and will arrive before the end of this year, but for the moment no specific dates have been given for its final launch or data on what backward compatibility will exist with existing devices.
There has also been no talk of a theoretical Pixel Watch, but Samsung did confirm that its upcoming Galaxy Watch will make use of this unified platform, as will future Fitbit devices.