The Future of Wear OS is Bright, Experts Say

Collaboration could be the key to success

Key Takeaways

  • Google and Samsung are working together on the newest iteration of Wear OS.
  • Samsung has already announced that it will show off some of the changes coming to its smartwatches at the Mobile World Congress on Monday.
  • Experts say consumers should expect better consistency for apps, as well as better overall speed and battery life.
A black smartwatch with yellow complications showing on the face.

Emiliano Cicero / Unsplash

A new collaboration between Samsung and Google could be just what Android-based wearables need to break out of the rut and become the smartwatch operating system consumers deserve.

Android smartwatches have seen their share of ups and downs. Despite Google offering a basic operating system, many companies started to branch out, including Samsung, creating their own versions of the OS, which offered better features and battery life than Google’s version.

Unfortunately, this means the Android smartwatch market became extremely fragmented, making it hard for consumers to find apps or even watches that worked seamlessly with their devices. Now that Google and Samsung are working together, experts say the future of Wear OS never has been as bright as it is right now. And we could see some of that during Samsung’s presentation at Mobile World Congress 2021 next week.

"The merging of the two operating systems will allow developers to focus on a single app platform—enabling apps and widgets to become more consistent. And at the OS level, the companies will work to iron out some of the responsiveness issues that have plagued Wear OS in the past," Weston Happ, a tech expert and product technology manager at Merchant Maverick, explained in an email.

Better Development

While better development might seem like something that will benefit app makers more, it proves beneficial to consumers, too. Having a smoother development process means more app makers can create specific applications for Wear. As such, consumers can expect to see more comprehensive support for their favorite applications, as well as better support across multiple types of smartwatches.

"At the I/O 2021 keynote, a claimed 30% increase in speed was touted for new Wear devices, and Samsung’s battery prowess could prove a huge win for watches that can last multiple days."

This has always been one of the biggest points of contention with the fragmented nature of the Android wearable market, and it has hurt consumers most in the past. Even other wearables like the Apple Watch are just now starting to come into their own when it comes to standalone applications.

By joining together, Samsung and Google are helping to close the gap between the quality of apps offer on Apple Watch versus the current quality offered on older Wear OS or even Tizen-based smartwatches.

Improvements All Around

With two of the biggest Android companies working on the OS, users can expect to see a litany of other improvements to the system.

"Battery life and speed will be two leading points of emphasis when it comes to new Wear-based smartwatches," Happ noted. "At the I/O 2021 keynote, a claimed 30% increase in speed was touted for new Wear devices, and Samsung’s battery prowess could prove a huge win for watches that can last multiple days."

Wear OS has had a long history of offering subpar battery life for users. If Google and Samsung can increase the overall status of battery life and make Android watches last longer, we could finally see an option for consumers who don’t want to have to charge their smartwatch every single night.

The Suunto 7 smartwatch that uses Wear OS

Suunto

With so many features designed to help users overnight—like sleep tracking and alarms—getting through more than a day without charging your watch will be critical to properly making the most of those features.

Finally, there’s the Fitbit acquisition to take into account. With Google having acquired Fitbit at the start of 2021, it has taken over one of the biggest health wearable companies around at the moment. As such, it has the perfect opening to start pushing many of those health-based features into the basics of the new Wear Platform.

"Fitbit’s acquisition by Google means that next-generation health tracking features will be built directly into the new Wear platform, and Samsung will undoubtedly use this to level up its fitness metric collection game," Happ explained.

"Samsung has confirmed that it will be bringing its watch face design tool to the new Wear platform, which gives users, who love choice when it comes to face design, a continued pathway to nearly endless customization options."

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