New version of Wear OS coming every year, update still on schedule

The first-party Pixel Watch is the second biggest moment for Wear OS after last year’s partnership with Samsung. The responsible team has today provided an update on the state of the platform.

Wired spoke to Björn Kilburn, director of product management for Wear OS, in an interview revealing how Google’s goal is to “generally release a new version of Wear every year in a similar way to mobile”. It’s unclear whether that annual update target refers to say 3.0 -> 4.0 or whether 3.0 -> 3.5 would count, which happened this year on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 and the Pixel Watch.

This annual release cadence was born to ensure that the latest Android “watches and hearables” features are quickly integrated. Meanwhile, Kilburn refers to “quarterly Wear updates to provide ‘new experiences’ throughout the year.” This could possibly refer to the Feature Drops the Pixel Watch is getting, or the seasonal Android equivalents.

Meanwhile, Wear OS 3 means watch makers are responsible for over-the-air (OTA) updates rather than Google with Wear OS 2. We’ve already seen how version 3 requires OEMs to build their own companion apps instead of relying on them. Google’s . Speaking of the Wear OS phone app, it remains for “Local Edition Wear OS 3 smartwatches in China”.

When asked about Google Fit in regards to Fitbit, Kilburn gave no insight into the wider availability of the latter or what the future of the former will be, other than that it will remain available.

For owners of Wear OS 2 watches, Google is reiterating that Wear OS 3 updates for devices powered by the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ are still expected later this year. A device reset is required.

Finally, Google said it is “absolutely committed” to Wear OS. Looking ahead, the team is working on improving battery life so that smaller devices can be made.

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