For some reason that I still cannot figure, all of the brands that are keeping Google’s Wear OS alive, keep announcing new smartwatches. Typically, announcing new products is a good thing, but you have to understand that Wear OS is about to get a brand new chipset to power its devices that could dramatically change the platform and revive it from years of sleep. In other words, you shouldn’t buy any of these recently announced Wear OS watches. I’d even go as far as to suggest you skip the Samsung Galaxy Watch for now too if that was on your radar.
On September 10, Qualcomm is hosting an event in San Francisco where they will announce a new wearable chipset that will more than likely be in all future Wear OS watches. This new chipset is said to be built from the ground up, will allow watches to look pretty when you aren’t using them (like a normal watch sitting idly by your side), and extend battery life.” More importantly, Qualcomm is betting that this Snapdragon Wear chip will “significantly change the Wear OS ecosystem, what you expect from a smartwatch.”
If you buy a smartwatch today, before Qualcomm announces this chip, you will be stuck with a 2+ year old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. All of the new Wear OS watches that have been announced recently, use that chip. It’s old. It’s never been great. And it’s about to be replaced by something potentially game-changing for smartwatches.
We think that LG will be one of the first with a watch running this new Qualcomm processor. Back prior to Google I/O, a report surfaced suggesting that LG had some sort of hybrid watch in the works. This watch sounds exactly like what Qualcomm described when it teased its new processor and said a “lead” watch was coming in the fall. This LG watch is said to have physical watch hands, as well as the smarts of Wear OS and a touch display. My guess is that we will see it on September 10.
After that watch shows up, all other major Wear OS watches will run the new Snapdragon Wear. Google’s rumored Pixel Watch is almost guaranteed to, as are others that show up into the holiday season.
While there is no sure bet when it comes to a Wear OS revival, this is the most exciting watch-related happening we’ve had on Android in years. Do not buy a smartwatch today or next week or the following week. Wait until we see what Qualcomm has in store.