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Hands-on with the huge Wear OS redesign (Updated with video)

The Wear OS redesign will help you use your wearables faster and more efficiently.

Published onAugust 31, 2018

  • Google is launching a Wear OS redesign that will begin rolling out over the next few months.
  • The Wear OS redesign will help you access wearable features faster and with more efficiency.
  • This update to Wear OS along with the recent Google Fit update adds more fuel to the rumor that Google will launch its own smartwatch in October.

Android Wear became Wear OS earlier this year, but not much has changed with the wearable operating system since the rebrand. But over the next few months, Google will roll out a Wear OS redesign that will dramatically change the way you interact with your smartwatch.

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The updated Wear OS will put more of an emphasis on getting to important information at the time it matters most to you. It also brings smarter health tracking and coaching (in tandem with the newly updated Google Fit) and more proactive help from Google Assistant.

Google hopes that these new features will help you get the most out of every minute of every day.

Access your notifications quickly and easily

In the Wear OS redesign, you can easily see your notifications as well as quickly get to settings and functions that you use often. By swiping up on the screen you’ll see a stream of notifications along with Google Assistant-powered smart replies you can easily send with a quick tap.

Swiping down from the top of your watch face will bring up handy shortcuts to most important apps, like Google Pay, Find my Phone, and more.


Get help from Google Assistant

Google promised during Google I/O 2018 that Google Assistant would become more integrated across all of its products, and that’s definitely the case with this Wear OS redesign. Your Google Assistant feed will help you stay on top of your day by showing you your schedule, the weather, and reminding you of important tasks.

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Assistant is also location- and activity-aware, meaning that what you do and when you do it will trigger different responses. For example, if you are at the airport, a quick swipe will give you the information on your flight, hotel reservations, and nearby car rental services.

As you use Assistant (and your smartwatch) more, it will be more in-tune with your day. For example, if you go running at 8:00 A.M. most mornings, Assistant will give you a weather report at 7:45 A.M. just in case you need to wear a poncho.

Assistant will also suggest features to you that you haven’t yet used, making sure you understand the full capabilities of your watch and its operating system.

Use Wear OS to get in better shape

Last week, Google announced a complete overhaul of its health-tracking app Google Fit. Using that app in tandem with the new Wear OS redesign will help you get into the best shape of your life.

In Wear OS, you’ll be able to swipe left to access workouts and activity tracking features, making it easier than ever to start a routine. The new features within Google Fit — like Heart Points and Move Minutes — will not only make that activity more fun but also give you helpful tools to track your progress.

Is a Google-branded smartwatch imminent?

Google is slated to have a hardware event sometime in October where it will likely announce the next line of Pixel devices. There’s been a rumor floating around that it might also launch its very first Google-branded smartwatch.

With this new Wear OS update, the upcoming release of a new Qualcomm chip designed for wearables, and the recently-updated Google Fit app, it’s looking more and more likely that the rumor is true. We don’t know anything for certain yet, but it would not be at all surprising to see a new Google smartwatch in October running the latest Snapdragon Wear chipset on the latest version of Wear OS.

NEXT: Best Wear OS smartwatches

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