Wear OS is the software platform that powers the Samsung Galaxy Watch series, Google Pixel Watch lineup, and many smartwatches from Fossil, Mobvoi, and other brands. The latest version debuted on the Galaxy Watch 6 series, but now it will ship with the Pixel Watch 2, and Google says it’s coming to other watches soon.
Google announced that the Wear OS 4 update is “now stable,” which is a bit of a strange statement when it has been available on the Galaxy Watch 6 series for two months—was it unstable before now? The just-announced Pixel Watch 2 from Google will have Wear OS 4 installed out of the box, and the original Pixel Watch will get an update to Wear OS 4 “later this year.” The company says other watches will receive the update soon, but there are no specific dates or a list of supported models.
The Wear OS 4 update uses a new Watch Face Format, developed by Google and Samsung, which allows developers to more easily create custom watch faces for smartwatches. Watch faces created with the new technology “don’t have to worry about code optimizations or battery performance.” There is also better support for animations in app tiles, thanks to a new Jetpack library that app developers can try out.
The update also allows you to migrate a smartwatch from one phone to another without performing a full factory reset on the watch. On watches that “support cloud backup,” which includes the Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2, some amount of app data is retained in the transfer. Most people probably aren’t switching their primary smartphone on a regular basis, but whenever you do need to change phones, Wear OS 4 will make your smartwatch setup less of a pain.
Under the hood, Wear OS 4 is based on Android 13, which is an upgrade from the Android 11 codebase that powered Wear OS 3. Many of the features added in Android 12 and 13 don’t impact smartwatches, but those updates did include some helpful privacy changes and performance improvements.
Fossil, Mobvoi, and other Wear OS smartwatch manufacturers haven’t confirmed when their watches will get an update to Wear OS 4. The update is also available for developers in the Android Studio emulator.
Source: Android Developers Blog