Google has announced what it calls the “biggest Wear OS update” yet, cooperating with Samsung and Fitbit to deliver the revamped software.
During the 2021 Google I/O event, Google dropped several major announcements regarding its plans for Wear OS, the biggest of which being that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 would be ditching Tizen and adopting Wear OS.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy Watch 4 will retain some of main features from the Galaxy Watch line, which could be the ability to download songs from Spotify as well as access to visual workouts, but that Tizen as we know it will be on its way out.
With regards to Wear OS itself, Google did stress that its main focuses of the update would be in improving battery life, revitalising how we interact with wearable devices and delivering a more robust fitness experience.
On the fitness front, Google will be making use of Fitbit’s expertise, bringing some of Fitbit’s tracking features over to the Wear OS platform. While the details are scarce as to which features could be included, any influence from Fitbit will be a marked change over the somewhat stale tracking capabilities of Google Fit in its current state.
Fixing a major issue that occurred when Google Play Music shut down last year, users will be able to listen to music offline once more with Google announcing that a YouTube Music app would be making its way to Wear OS. In the absence of Play Music, Wear OS devices have been unable to store music locally, effectively rendering a major feature useless.
Google also stressed that it would be opening up the Wear OS platform to developers, letting them create their own tiles that can be easily reached from a watch face. One new tile shown was for the Calm meditation app – giving users the chance to dive straight into a session with minimal effort.
This new Wear OS is scheduled to launch in autumn, but Google has yet to specify definitive release date. With all these features in tow however, this could be the update that finally allows Wear OS to take the Apple Watch to task.
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