Google teases Wear OS update ahead of I/O 2021
Prior to the Google I/O 2021 conference for developers, Google has confirmed an update for its smartwatch operating system. The tech giant has made a reference to a "brand new Wear version" on its event website, which implies either design or feature updates or both for Wear OS. The company has also teased the long-overdue update on Twitter.
Throughout the last year, Google added new, albeit small features such as support for third-party Tiles, a new keyboard, and improvements to performance on its Wear OS. Other than the addition of Tiles, the last major design change on its operating system was rolled out back in 2018. As it teases the Wear OS update, Google seems to have something up its sleeve.
Another rumor suggests that Google is planning to reveal a Pixel-branded smartwatch at the event. Following the purchase of hybrid watch technology from Fossil in 2019 and the Fitbit acquisition, Google may reportedly incorporate some elements from Fitbit's operating system into Wear OS. To steer future development, Google had also sought feedback on Wear OS from some Android users.
Separately, a SamMobile report suggests that Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 will favor Wear OS under Samsung skin, with an entirely new One UI 3.x. Against Samsung's own Tizen OS, Wear OS offers the advantage of superior support for third-party apps within Wear OS PlayStore. Recently, companies like Xiaomi and OPPO have also launched their smartwatches with Wear OS skins.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google had canceled its developer conference in 2020. Meanwhile, this year's three-day online event is scheduled to begin at 1 PM Eastern Time on May 18. Apart from the Wear OS update, recent developments suggest that the 2021 conference is expected to touch upon Android 12, processors for Pixel phones, Pixel Buds, Google Assistant, amongst other services.