A month ago today, Google announced an update to Wear OS which would take it from the stinking state of “barely usable” to something much more user friendly. I opined about the currently awful state of smartwatches (i.e. without this promised update) and it seems that there’s a good many people who agree – Wear OS as it currently stands is a bit of a stinker.

However, news out of the US this morning is that Google’s promised Wear OS 2.1 update is coming right now, and just about all Android Wear / Wear OS smartwatches should receive it in coming days. What will we see? Here’s the main new features:

  • Swiping left and right no longer changes watchfaces – you can long press to do that.
  • Swiping down reveals revamped quick settings.
  • Swiping up shows notifications (kind of like it does now)
  • Google Fit is accessed by a dedicated swipe to the left.
  • Google Assistant is readily accessible with a swipe to the right.

These small changes will address many – but not all – of the issues with the current crop of smartwatches. Better fitness integration is a solid move, along with social fitness features to encourage people to get up and move around. Whether this update can address other pain points – slow OS response, lag between apps, missing notifications, calls coming through slowly, and ordinary battery life – remains to be seen.

There’s no reason Google couldn’t optimise its bloated wearable OS a bit better than they have, and it’d certainly be a welcome improvement.

A few watches won’t be receiving Wear OS 2.1, but if you’re still rocking one of these, you’re probably not surprised:

  • LG G Watch
  • Samsung Gear Live
  • Original Moto 360
  • Sony Smartwatch 3
  • Original Asus ZenWatch

While you can Check for Updates on Wear OS, it’s kind of like the pedestrian crossing button – it’s there to make users feel good rather than actually polling for an update. However, press it anyway – go to Settings > System > About > System Updates, and see if Wear OS 2.1 is there for you.

On my Huawei Watch 2, it hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll keep checking.

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Taleim
Taleim
1 year ago

Imagine this won’t include the original huatch?

Chris Author
Chris Author
Reply to  Taleim
1 year ago

There’s every indication it will.

Taleim
Taleim
Reply to  Chris Author
1 year ago

That would be amazing. Aside from lack of nfc, love this watch

Philip Clark
Philip Clark
Reply to  Chris Rowland
1 year ago

I’ve still got my HW1, the other downside is horrible screen burn-in unfortunately 🙁 Any idea if this is still an issue with modern AW watches?

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Nothing on my HW2

Daniel Tyson
Reply to  Chris
1 year ago

If it’s the LTE model like mine I suspect we’ll have to wait a long time just as they did with the WearOS update.

Andrew
Andrew
1 year ago

[email protected] Sony and their refusal to update what is still a very capable smartwatch. I was sucked in to buying a premium “future proofed” watch, won’t make that mistake again.

Daniel Tyson
Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

That watch was gorgeous. I loved mine.

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

Really happy to see this not come down to a manufacturer choice (From what I understand) but I see that the OG moto 360 wont get it, what about gen 2?

Rocking one now and haven’t found anything that looks as good as it, getting this update would just be the icing on the cake for the gen 2.

Jack
Jack
1 year ago

Given up on Wear OS. Ordered Apple Watch today. It took this to get me to buy an iPhone.

Jamie S
Jamie S
1 year ago

Too little too late I fear

Craig Ogier
Craig Ogier
1 year ago

This isn’t a system firmware update. It is an update to the WearOS app.

Daniel Tyson
Reply to  Craig Ogier
1 year ago

No, the Wear OS app update started coming a few days ago. This is the actual start of the Wear OS update on the watch. But…be prepared for the usual long, slow rollout that Google is famous for.

Dennis Bareis
Dennis Bareis
Reply to  Daniel Tyson
1 year ago

I’ve had 2.1x on phone and watch (firmware) for ages, I do not have the functionality described and I don’t have any app called “WearOS” installed, I do have Google Play Services 13.2.80.

I got a WearOS update on the phone today. I have an “LG Watch Urbane” if that matters.

Ben
Ben
Reply to  Dennis Bareis
1 year ago

I also have 2.16 and don’t have the functionality described above… weird?? I have the Asus zenwatch 3.

Dennis Bareis
Dennis Bareis
1 year ago

I’ve been on wear 2.1 for many months now…