The announcement at Google IO of a merged wearable platform combining Wear OS and Samsung’s Tizen OS left a lot of questions unanswered. Google has today answered many of those questions, and for existing Wear OS owners the news isn’t good.
In a support forum post this morning, Google has officially named the merged platform as Wear OS 3. The post also advised that Google expects partners to begin rolling the update out from the middle second half of 2022.
Now. Here’s where it gets pretty gnarly for existing Wear OS owners. The only existing watches eligible to receive the Wear OS 3 update will be from Mobvoi, with three watches, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE and TicWatch E3 eligible for the update.
Google does further advise that Fossil will release a new generation of devices later this year which will also get the update when it rolls out next year.
Now. If you purchased a Wear OS watch this year that wasn’t one of the Mobvoi models listed above you are out of luck. There’s been a number of new Wear OS models released this year which include the whole range of Fossil gen 5 watches, the Casio G-Squad Pro, even the rather pricey (but so damn cool) Mario edition TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch isn’t on the list to get the update.
Those owners who DO have a compatible smartwatch will also have to face the decision of factory resetting their watch in order to receive the update. Google says the update will be opt-in, so there won’t be forced resets.
Frankly, if you have just purchased a Wear OS watch I’d be looking for the receipt, because that sucks. There’s also not a lot of reason to buy a smartwatch running Wear OS in the short term with this sort of window, though Google does say they will continue to offer security updates for a minimum of two years from device launch, as well as ‘new app experiences, like the recent updates to Gboard and Google Play‘.
The first watch running the new Wear OS 3 will be the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The Galaxy Watch 4 is expected to be unveiled on August 11th during Samsung Unpacked, but Google is also rumoured to be working on a Pixel Watch for later this year, so if you are on the lookout for a new watch running Wear OS, those are probably your best bet at least for now.