11 things we know about the new smartwatch OS from Google and Samsung — and some we don’t

Yesterday, Google and Samsung delivered important news that they will integrate Wear OS and Tizen-based smartwatch platforms into a single operating system. The new software is now called Wear, but the name may change as the first device that will come with it gets closer.

The unified platform is meant to give your Android smartwatch a huge boost and a much simpler strategy. Additionally, developers can create apps and widgets for a single OS instead of splitting the effort between Wear OS and Tizen. Much of this is explained in detail in the video below, but let’s focus on the big highlights as well.

It will be faster than Wear OS.

Speed ​​and responsiveness were one of the main buzzwords when Google and Samsung made this announcement in their I/O 2021 keynote. The company claims that apps open up to 30% faster than currently running on Wear OS. Google also promises “smooth user interface animations and movements,” which hasn’t always been a strength of Wear OS.

The battery life is also improved by the next level.

This is not surprising, as Samsung’s smartwatches already routinely last longer than Wear OS products. The company is lending hardware expertise to Google to ensure better fitness. “Samsung has implemented the best technology to provide optimized performance, and advanced sensor placement and low-power display technology to ensure an efficient and long-lasting battery.” Yoon Jang-hyun wrote after the news on Tuesday. Google’s Bjorn Kilburn said customers can expect “convenient optimizations such as the ability to keep a heart rate sensor running throughout the day, track sleep overnight, and keep the battery running the next day.”

The next Samsung Galaxy Watch runs Wear.

Samsung has confirmed that the next generation of smartwatches and all other smartwatches in the pipeline will run the unified wear platform. However, the company was convinced that it would bring some of the popular hardware elements, such as the rotating bezel mechanism.

The standalone Google Maps app performs step-by-step directions.

In the report mad, Google has learned that there are plans for a Google Maps app to give Wear a’new user interface that works even without a phone’. This implies support for cellular data in the new unified platform.

Spotify and YouTube Music apps support offline download.

Spotify has already allowed Samsung smartwatch owners to download songs for offline listening, and the same convenience now extends to Wear. That’s one thing Spotify for Apple Watch still doesn’t do.

Google has also confirmed that YouTube Music is available on Wear. Like Spotify, it fully supports offline listening.

Fitbit activity tracking is built into the platform.

After completing the Fitbit acquisition earlier this year, Google will now incorporate some of the brand’s health and activity tracking features into Wear. In the future, premium Fitbit wearables will also run the integrated platform.

Device manufacturers can customize the look and feel.

Google emphasized on Tuesday that the platform isn’t just for itself and Samsung. “Any device manufacturer can add a custom user experience on top of the platform,” Kilburn said. This is important if Google wants to keep companies like Garmin on the new platform. And I can’t forget the many traditional watchmakers such as Fossil, Citizen, TAG Heuer, etc., lagging Wear OS in recent years without Google’s flagship smartwatch.

New APIs should make developing apps faster and easier.

Wear’s apps use the latest Android development technologies such as Jetpack and Kotlin to help you reach the best possible performance. Google is also committed to making life easier for app creators with new APIs that span tiles, health services, watch faces, complications, and more. And if a certain function is running in the background, you will see an activity indicator.

Some Wear OS smartwatches can be upgraded to Wear.

There are no solid promises yet, but Google at least hasn’t fully spoken of its existing products. habit It will be updated with the new OS. The company said 9to5Google, “We will share more updates on schedule when a new version is released later this year.”

Samsung does not update Galaxy Watch models to Wear.

Samsung won’t update its Galaxy Watch line with Wear, but says it has no intention of leaving current customers in the dust when it launches a wear hardware launch. “For customers who already own Tizen OS-based Galaxy smartwatches, we will continue to provide software support for at least three years after product launch,” the company said Tuesday. However, there will be some features and new Wear tricks that never apply to older Galaxy smartwatches.

Samsung Brings Watch Face Designer Tools

Some people are really interested in choosing a good watch face from an expensive smartwatch. Google and Samsung are promising a mix of styles, and Samsung told Wired that its design tools and many of the company’s own signature watch faces will be available on Wear.

Unknown

Google and Samsung shared a fair amount of information on the first day, but there are still no answers to some important questions. We need to learn more during the summer as we head to the fall hardware season.

  • When will the first Wear smartwatch be released?
  • Is the underlying operating system closer to Wear OS or closer to Tizen? (It looks like the former, considering that developers use Android tools to build their apps.)
  • Need a must-have companion app like some Samsung watches?
  • Will Wear continue to offer iOS support?
  • What about Samsung Pay and Bixby? Are you both tired of your wrists?

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