When Samsung and Google announced that they had merged their respective smartwatch platforms, it wasn’t known when or even if current Wear OS models would be updated to the new firmware. Today, Google has announced the very few Wear OS-powered smartwatches that will eventually be upgraded to Wear OS 3 as it’s called. It doesn’t make for pretty reading.
Starting with the good news, Google confirmed that the new Wear OS will be called Wear OS 3 which makes sense even if it’s an anticlimax. As expected, only watches that are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform will be updated to Wear OS 3, which is a total of two smartwatches so far.
And that’s it. If you’ve got an older Wear OS smartwatch Google says it will provide new app experiences such as the recently rolled out Play Store, but that’s pretty much it. So there’s no update being planned for watches powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 or 3100 chipsets, which is not good news at all. Still, it’s great that Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 and E3 are getting the Wear OS 3 update, along with Fossil’s upcoming Gen 6 watches, right?
Well, this is the other bad news. Google anticipates that the Wear OS 3 update for eligible smartwatches will only roll out during the second half of 2022. Yup, over a year from now. And when it does arrive, it will be opt-in only and require users to factory reset their devices. Google says that it expects some to stick with the current Wear OS experience rather than upgrade, but I’m not too sure of that.
My take on this is that Qualcomm was left entirely out of the loop by Google and Samsung in regards to the unification of Wear OS and Tizen OS and that until recently, it wasn’t known if Wear OS 3 was even compatible with the Snapdragon Wear 4100. Somehow, someone at Qualcomm has shoehorned the new software onto a Snapdragon Wear 4100-powered smartwatch as a proof of concept, and that’s about it. Which kinda makes sense when you think of Qualcomm’s announcement earlier this week where it suddenly stated that it was investing in its Snapdragon Wear platforms and would launch new chipsets. Anyway, that’s pure supposition on my part, it could be that everyone was playing together nicely.
If you’ve got one of the eligible smartwatches that will eventually get the Wear OS 3 update, are you impressed by the promised timescale of the OTA? It all sounds like a dollar short and a day late to me.