The Pixel Watch Has Landed. What Does That Mean for Wear OS?

After years of hints that Google was working by itself smartwatch, the first-ever Pixel Watch has finally arrived. Powering it’s the platform Google debuted means again in 2014: Wear OS. First known as Android Wear, the smartwatch working system has lived by means of intervals of excessive exercise and of silence; issues received so quiet for a time that it felt as if Wear was on Google’s chopping block

Last yr, Google renewed everybody’s religion when it confirmed off a brand new model called Wear OS 3, which the corporate codeveloped with Fitbit (which it owns) and Samsung (which sells a number of smartwatches). Only a handful of smartwatches are operating this new model to this point, together with the Pixel Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch5, however the platform goes by means of many modifications and it is exhausting to maintain observe of the small print. I sat down (just about) with Björn Kilburn, Google’s director of product administration for Wear OS, to set the report straight about the place Wear is headed.

What’s the Official Name?

Pixel Watch

Photograph: Google

Google’s Android Wear smartwatch working system was renamed “Wear OS by Google” in 2018. Lately, Google has been utilizing a myriad of names: Wear, Wear OS, and Wear OS by Google. So which is it? Officially, it is Wear OS by Google, however Google says the quick kind “Wear OS” can also be right. 

New watches are operating the most recent model of the software program, known as Wear OS 3, and Google has retroactively used the time period “Wear OS 2″ to describe previous-generation smartwatches.

How Committed Is Google to Wear OS?

Google’s support for its smartwatch platform has been touch-and-go; Wear OS hasn’t enjoyed the cadence of updates nor the attention Apple gives to WatchOS and the Apple Watch. Google also isn’t shy about shuttering its apps and services if they don’t prove popular (RIP Stadia). Things are looking up for Wear OS lately though, and while it’s too early to tell whether Google will follow up its first Pixel Watch with a successor next year, Kilburn assures me that Wear OS is important to Google.

“We are absolutely committed to the space and, hopefully, the evidence is there,” Kilburn says. “If you look at the number of apps that have been refreshed in the last year and a half, then the Pixel team building the first-party watch, and our collaboration with Samsung—which is super-positive—I think those are all strong indicators that there’s a lot of commitment beyond just the Wear team.”

How Often Will Wear OS Be Updated?

Google says you can expect a new version of Wear OS every year, just as phone owners can expect a new version of Android every year. At least, that’s the hope. 

“Our goal is, from a platform perspective, for us to release a new version of Wear generally every year in a similar fashion to mobile, partly because we need to support mobile,” Kilburn says. “If new functionalities added in Android are critical for watches and hearables, then we’ve got to find a way to get it into the watch.” That stated, there’ll nonetheless be quarterly Wear updates to deliver ”new experiences” throughout the year. 

However, Kilburn notes that, in contrast to with Wear OS 2 smartwatches, watch producers are accountable for over-the-air updates in Wear OS 3. You’ll want to begin checking a producer’s software program replace coverage identical to you’d with an Android telephone. For instance, the brand new Google Pixel Watch will get three years of software program updates, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 will get 4 years of updates. It’s value stating that Apple supported the Apple Watch Series 3 for 4 years. 

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