As we continue to run through the 11 weeks of Android developer sessions we have finally gotten to one of the sessions we were most excited for, Wear OS. Yep, I know, some of you think it’s a dead platform but some of us at Ausdroid are true believers in the platform, and with Google focusing on ‘fundamentals’ in their next update maybe you will be too.
What’s are fundamentals? In the next update slated for “Fall in the USA”, somewhere between 22 September – 21 December, Google will release an OTA update that improves performance, power and developer tools. Google is promising fast app loading times, simplified pairing, 20% overall speed performance and a more intuitive system UI especially for managing watch modes and workouts.
The new OTA will also bring support for the newly released Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ platform. This makes us think that new hardware based on the Wear 4100 unfortunately cannot be brought to market until the OTA is ready.
Whether you use the weather app or not Google also showed off a new UI for the Wear OS weather app. Apparently designed to be ‘read on the go’ the new UI looks fine, but this feels like filler in an otherwise graphically uninteresting release.
Google also took the time to discuss new partners in the Wear OS space calling out Oppo, Suunto and Xiaomi . We also know that Mobvoi will be coming to market with a new TicWatch Pro Wear OS device based on one of the new Wear 4100 platform chips.
Google has also confirmed that Wear OS will be moving to Android 11 with modern development tools like Kotlin and Jetpack coming onto the platform. Google has released the first release candidate of a new Wear OS based jetpack library, so if you’re a developer head on over and check out what is already available in version 1.0.0
Again, some of us here at Ausdroid are hopeful that Wear OS can still emerge as a real competitive smartwatch platform. Personally I like the UI and the utility I get from Wear OS. I do admit it’s still not 100% consumer-ready. Could the next update bring consumer-ready performance to new and old Wear OS devices alike? (but then how long have we been saying that?)