Google I/O 2022 kicks off in a couple of days and the world is focused on the potential hardware that Google could announce at the event. We all know the Pixel 6a and Pixel Watch are on the horizon, so I think it’s safe to say that those are the most anticipated topics of the moment. However, I want something else – I want Google to finally tell us that it and its partners are gearing up to launch Wear OS 3.
For those following the story, you know that Google and Samsung announced a big partnership at last year’s Google I/O for Wear OS. The two had teamed up to re-launch Google’s wearable platform and then pushed it first through the Galaxy Watch 4 line.
The partnership sure came off to us as an exclusive between the two for up to a year, which we assumed after watching Google’s other wearable partners scramble to address their plans for the new Wear version. The messaging from Fossil and Qualcomm didn’t line up with Google and the clearest understanding we had was that no other watchmaker would have Wear OS 3 until the later half of 2022, a full year from Samsung’s Watch 4 launch.
But again, the initial announcement for Wear OS 3 was at I/O last year. That puts us a year from Google’s unveiling of the re-launch of the platform and still no other company has shipped it on a watch. This week would be a great time to do that and show that Wear OS isn’t only a Samsung (and potentially Pixel Watch) platform.
Fossil and Mobvoi and Qualcomm kept Wear OS alive for all these years prior to Samsung re-joining the party. I hate to tell Google that they owe these other companies anything, but when they happen to be the reason Wear OS didn’t completely fold 3-4 years ago, they kind of do.
While Wear OS 3 may not bring massive changes, it should help modernize the wearable experience from old watches to new. It could look like this when not on a Samsung watch, but you also have to wonder if it’ll allow these other companies to create their own unique experiences, like Samsung did with One UI on top of Wear OS. It also could give them a reason to keep making watches, take advantage of new hardware, and try again to beat Samsung.
If anything, it at least takes away the current biggest argument against them all, which is that they are an entire Wear OS version behind and have been for a year. Recommending Fossil’s Gen 6 line has been tough from day 1 and that’s probably not fair. The hardware it offers is excellent, but there has always been a massive question mark surrounding its future. Google should clear all of that up this week.