The most significant update to date for Wear OS smartwatches is Wear OS 3. It features quicker app loads thanks to a partnership with Samsung, Fitbit-powered fitness tracking, a new user interface, and other features.
If consumers and manufacturers of smartwatches accept it, it is a significant upgrade that could give the operating system new life.
The list of features that Wear OS 3 offers is provided below, along with details on how, when, and where to get it.
Only a very small number of smartwatches support it at this time. Below are full descriptions of the wearables it is currently and soon will be available on.
There are currently very few smartwatches that actually run Wear OS 3, despite it being available since 2021. In fact, as of this writing, you can only get it on the Montblanc Summit 3 (which is very expensive), the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
The Fossil Gen 6, Michael Kors Gen 6, Skagen Falster Gen 6, Razer X Fossil Gen 6, TicWatch Pro 3, TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra, and TicWatch E3 will all theoretically receive updates before the end of 2022, despite the fact that no previously available smartwatches have yet received a Wear OS 3 software update.
Some of the top smartwatches currently available may also receive updates, but no other devices have been formally announced.
In the near future, new Wear OS 3 smartwatches will also go on sale, including the Google Pixel Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series.
Keep in mind that a compatible operating system on your phone is also required in order to use a Wear OS 3 watch. Theoretically, it works with both iOS and Android, but as of this writing, only the Montblanc Summit 3 offers iOS support; neither the Galaxy Watch 4 nor the Galaxy Watch 5 are anticipated to.
Wear OS 3 has a lot to offer, but it’s important to remember that not every watch will support all of the features. Notably, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 line uses One UI Watch, which modifies the appearance and some user interface elements, on top of Wear OS.
The Pixel Watch and other Wear OS 3 wearables that haven’t been heavily customized, like Samsung’s current Galaxy Watch series, where you can expect to find more variation, are expected to have the functionality listed below as stock features.
Faster, longer lasting
As a result of Google and Samsung’s collaboration, Wear OS 3 combines Wear OS 2 and Samsung’s Tizen-based wearable operating system, with a few fresh features thrown in for good measure.
The result of this collaboration has been significant advancements in battery life and app load times, which are up to 30% faster than Wear OS 2. With the latter improvement, it is now more practical to do things like track your sleep or use the heart rate monitor continuously throughout the day without needing to charge it right away.
The interface has also changed in Wear OS 3, with Google focusing on making it quicker and simpler to use your wearable. There is a focus on shortcuts and gesture controls, as well as the ability to use Tiles (basically, mini widgets) to customize your watch’s home screen carousel in more ways than before. Nobody wants to spend hours swiping through menus on a watch’s relatively small display.
Additionally, Google Home will provide quick access to smart home controls, and a new task switcher will allow you to quickly switch between running apps.
Wear OS now allows smartwatch manufacturers to pull off a similar ruse, so the platform won’t necessarily look or behave the same on every smartwatch. This is similar to how Android smartphone manufacturers can add a custom interface on top of stock Android.
As a result, customers should have more options and chances to find an interface and features they truly love.
One UI Watch, which is a first instance of this and can be found on the Galaxy Watch 4 line, offers a number of Samsung apps and services in addition to Google’s and has more similarities to Samsung’s smartphone interface design.