11 things we know about Google and Samsung’s new smart watch operating system

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Yesterday brought important news that Google and Samsung will combine Wear OS and Tizen-based smartwatch systems into one operating system. The new software is currently called Wear, but the name may change as we approach the first devices shipped with it.

The combined platform is designed to give Android smartwatches a huge boost and a much simpler strategy. It also allows developers to create applications and widgets for a single operating system instead of sharing their efforts between Wear OS and Tizen. Much of this is covered in more detail in the video below, but we will also focus on the highlights.

It will be faster than Wear OS

Speed ​​and responsiveness were one of the main topics of discussion when Google and Samsung made this announcement during the I / O 2021 speech. Companies claim that applications open up to 30 percent faster than they currently do on Wear OS. Google also promises “smooth interface animations and movements,” which hasn’t always been a strength of Wear OS.

Battery life is also longer

Samsung’s smart watches were already routinely older Wear OS products, so this is no surprise. The company lends Google some hardware expertise to ensure better sustainability. “Samsung adopted our best technology to provide optimized performance, and advanced sensor specification and low-power display technology to ensure efficient and long-lasting battery life” Samsung Janghyun Yoon wrote after Tuesday’s news. Google’s Bjorn Kilburn said customers can expect “convenient optimizations, such as the ability to use the heart rate sensor continuously throughout the day, monitor your sleep overnight, and get more battery for the next day.”

The next Samsung Galaxy Watch uses Wear

Samsung has confirmed that its next smartwatch – and everyone else getting ready – will use a unified Wear platform. But the company certainly found that it brings in some popular hardware elements, such as a rotating frame mechanism.

A standalone Google Maps application provides step-by-step instructions

In – report Wired, we learned that Wear has plans for Google Maps, which includes a new interface that will work even if your phone isn’t with you. It refers to cellular data support on a new unified platform.

Spotify and YouTube Music applications support offline downloads

Spotify already allows Samsung smartwatch owners to download songs for offline listening and now with the same convenience extended to Wear. That’s one thing Spotify still doesn’t do for Apple Watch.

Google also confirmed that YouTube Music is available on Wear. Like Spotify, it includes full support for offline listening.

Tracking of Fitbit activity is built on the platform

Following the completion of its Fitbit acquisition earlier this year, Google is now integrating some of the brand’s health and activity tracking features into Wear. Future premium Fitbit wearers will also require a unified platform.

Device manufacturers can customize the look

Google on Tuesday tried to emphasize that this platform is not just for itself and Samsung. “All equipment manufacturers can add a customized user experience over the platform,” Kilburn said. It will prove important if Google wants to keep companies like Garmin involved in the new platform. We can’t forget the many traditional watchmakers – Fossil, Citizen, TAG Heuer and others – who have gotten behind Wear OS in recent years without Google’s flagship smartwatch.

Applications need to be faster and easier to develop with new APIs

Wear’s applications use the latest Android development technologies, such as Jetpack and Kotlin, to achieve the best possible performance. Google also promises to make life easier for app makers with new APIs that cover tiles, health services, watch surfaces, complications, and more. And the activity indicator appears when certain activities are running in the background.

Some Wear OS smartwatches may be upgraded to Wear applications

There are no strong promises yet, but at least Google didn’t say a direct say about existing products way will be upgraded to the new operating system. The company said 9to5Google“We will have more updates to share on schedules when the new version is released later this year.”

Samsung will not upgrade Galaxy Watch models to the Wear version

Samsung isn’t upgrading its Galaxy Watch series to Wear, but says it has no intention of leaving its current customers in the dust when it starts releasing Wear hardware. “For customers who already own Tizen OS-based Galaxy smartwatches, we will continue to offer at least three years of software support after the product launches,” the company said Tuesday. However, it seems plausible that there are more than a few features and new Wear tricks that will never get into older Galaxy smartwatches.

Samsung introduces a clock-level design tool

Some people out there really care that they have a good watch-level choice with an expensive smart watch. Google and Samsung promise a wide range of styles, and Samsung told Wired its design tools – and many of the company’s own signature watches – are available on Wear.

Unknown

Google and Samsung shared a decent chunk of information on the first day, but we still don’t have the answers to a few important questions. We should learn more during the summer as we move into the fall hardware season.

  • When will the first Wear smartwatch be available?
  • Is the underlying operating system closer to Wear OS or closer to Tizen? (Given that developers use Android tools to build apps, it looks like the previous one.)
  • Do you need the necessary helper apps like some Samsung watches have?
  • Will Wear continue to show iOS support?
  • What happens to Samsung Pay and Bixby? Are they both wrist supporters?

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