Although Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world (there are now 3 billion active Android devices in the wild), Google has been trying to translate that success into a successful smartwatch platform. While the competing Apple Watch has become a must-have accessory for a staggering number of iPhone owners, Google’s Wear OS has lagged its fruit-flavored competitor in terms of adoption and features.
However, this could change soon.
During the annual Google IO developer conference, the Mountain View-based company announced a pretty drastic change to its smartwatch software. Google has teamed up with Samsung, which has been successful with its Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Fit smartwatch and fitness trackers, to bring together its competing wearable software. The Tizen operating system that powers Samsung smartwatches, televisions, refrigerators, and more can now communicate with Google’s Wear operating system.
As with Android smartphones, which are developed by different companies but can all communicate with each other, regardless of whether your friends have Samsung branded smartwatches on their wrist and you have an option designed by Google, you can all take part in fitness competitions together , Send encouragement in texts and much more.
This means that a large number of new smartwatch owners will suddenly be able to interact with one another, exchange messages of encouragement, and check each other’s statistics of runs, walks, and swimming.
But that is only half the truth. By bringing the operating systems together, Google and Samsung also make it easier for developers to create apps for both device brands. Spotify no longer needs to create a separate smartwatch app for Wear OS, Tizen OS and Fitbit. Instead, a single app can work seamlessly with millions of devices from the three popular brands.
With Google, which completed its $ 2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit earlier this year, developers can push apps to Samsung, future Google-branded wearables, and Fitbit gadgets with a single click. Likewise, customers who have owned Samsung wearables for years can switch to Fitbit without losing paid apps, fitness tracking data, and more.
All in all, it’s great news all round… except that this latest cross-platform version of Wear OS may not be compatible with your aging smartwatch.
When asked by the Google-centric blog 9to5Google how many of the Wear OS devices currently on the wrist around the world can run this shiny new update, a spokesman for Google said, “We’ll be able to publish more updates on schedules as of the new version starts later this year. “
Google evades the question there, which immediately raises some eyebrows. If they supported every device, would they all have reassured us now?
Express.co.uk will keep an eye on the situation in the coming months. Google usually launches its blockbuster operating system updates in the fall. So expect some of the latest and greatest releases of Wear OS to be out sometime before Christmas.