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Google finally commits to yearly Wear OS updates similar to mobile

Google has a goal to release Wear OS updates as frequently as it updates Android.
By
October 11, 2022
Pixel Watch official
Google
TL;DR
  • Google claims its goal is to release annual updates to Wear OS as it does for mobile.
  • The new commitment is to ensure the latest Android features are incorporated quickly to support mobile.
  • OEM’s will be expected to push out updates.

With the arrival of the Pixel Watch, Google has a renewed interest in its wearable operating system. Along with that renewed interest, Google is committing itself to delivering updates to Wear OS similar to how it does with Android.

In an interview with Wired, Director of Product Management for Wear OS, Björn Kilburn, stated that Google’s goal is to “release a new version of Wear generally every year in a similar fashion to mobile.” This would mean that the company plans on releasing Wear OS updates about as frequently as it does for phones.

This is a change from how the company handled Wear OS in the past. Up until now, the tech giant had been wishy-washy when it came to supporting the smartwatch platform. Kilburn explains the motivation driving Google’s change in philosophy is related to supporting mobile. “If new functionalities added in Android are critical for watches […] then we’ve got to find a way to get it into the watch,” Kilburn told Wired.

At the moment, the Pixel Watch runs on Wear OS 3.5. While Google may now be interested in releasing updates every year, Kilburn’s statements don’t clarify if those updates would be something like version 3.0 updating to 4.0 or if going from 3.0 to 3.5 would count.

In addition, Kilburn mentioned that devices running on Wear OS 3 would require the manufacturer to push out over-the-air updates. He also suggested that users check their OEM’s software update policy. For example, if your device is past its final year of updates, the OEM might not release Google’s latest Wear OS update for your device.

When asked about Google Fit, Kilburn gave a vague answer as to the app’s future. The app is not preloaded on Wear OS 3 like it was on Wear OS 2, but it’s available to download on the Google Play Store. To this, Kilburn says it’s up to the Pixel and Fitbit team if the Google Fit app appears on the Wear Play Store.

Finally, Kilburn confirmed that users of wearables with Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100 Plus are still going to get the Wear OS 3 update later this year. However, a device reset would be required.

How do you feel about Google committing to annual Wear OS updates? Tell us in the comments below.