What we once knew as Android Wear is now Wear OS, and it just got a Developer Preview. We speculate on the release date of a potential Wear OS update and what new features it might bring to Android and Apple watches.
When is the new Wear OS coming out? We speculate on a possible release date
We were hoping to see an update to Android Wear (v3.0) roll out in the summer following a May Google I/O announcement. Instead Google has announced that it has rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS, since it’s not restricted to Android users, and released a Developer Preview for an upcoming update.
When is the new Wear OS release date?
Now that Google has announced a Developer Preview for the next instalment of Wear OS, we’d expect to see a consumer beta announced at Google I/O, then a full release in August alongside Android P. Google I/O will in 2018 take place between May 8 and 10.
How much will new Wear OS cost?
The updated Wear OS will be a free update for Android Wear 2.0/current Wear OS watches, but there is no guarantee older models will be upgraded. Likewise, if your watch is still stuck on Android Wear 1.0, you will not see an upgrade.
New features we would like to see in Wear OS
In an interview with Wareable Denis Troper, head of product at Wear OS, commented on the future of the platform. To summarise, it’s going to place more emphasis on health and fitness coaching and motivation, improve Google Assistant support on iOS, and enhance notifications with more control over the information you see.
Thanks to the Developer Preview we also know that Wear OS will bring Android P features to your wrist. It includes a new default UI dark theme to enhance glanceability, limited background activity for apps when the watch is not being charged, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/cellular radio deactivation when it’s not being worn.
And to improve battery life, Wear OS watches will no longer automatically connect to Wi-Fi when disconnected from Bluetooth.
Things we’d like to add to the list include:
- Faster performance
- Improved battery life and efficiency
- Better apps
- Improved iOS support in general, particularly with messages
- Cast support
- Ability to unlock Windows and Mac PCs with a watch
Will new Wear OS launch with a Pixel Watch?
Troper suggested Google would release the updated software on a new hero product, potentially a Pixel Watch, though was careful not to give away anything concrete about the upcoming device.
“I think it still makes sense and we’re going to still be doing that. I don’t want to announce anything right now but the prospects are good,” he told Wareable.