On today’s Google I/O 2021 event, Google has announced its joint efforts with Samsung towards improving Wear OS by combining it with Samsung’s Tizen OS into a unified platform. Together, the two companies have focused on making Wear OS apps launch and perform faster and improving smartwatch battery life. Additionally, Wear OS will be getting its fitness services improved by employing the expertise of Fitbit.
The Google Play store will also be available to smartwatches that employ the updated Wear OS platform. The platform itself will be accessible to other smartwatch manufacturers, and will not be limited to Samsung and Google’s wearables.
In a following blog
post, Google shared the following details on the performance improvements in the upcoming new Wear OS version:
For performance, our teams collaborated and made apps start up to 30% faster on the latest chipsets with smooth user interface animations and motion. To achieve longer battery life, we’ve worked to optimize the lower layers of the operating system – taking advantage of low-power hardware cores to enable better battery life. That includes handy optimizations like the ability to run the heart rate sensor continuously during the day, track your sleep overnight and still have battery for the next day. Finally, our unified platform will make it easier for developers to build great apps for the watch.
Wear OS gets new navigation features
Users will now be able to access shortcuts to important functions, such as switching to a previous app from anywhere on the screen. The home screen found on Wear OS will also become more customizable, allowing users to choose which Tiles to be shown from which of their favorite apps. Thus, Wear OS users will be able to enjoy more control over what information they wish to see at a glance.
Google Maps and Google Assistant get a Wear OS redesign
We’re yet to know how those will look. Additionally, Google Pay will also get a fresh new look and will become available in 26 new countries that are also yet to be announced.
Google Play for Wear is getting new apps
Google notes that it will be making it easier for developers to make apps (and Tiles) for Wear OS. That includes releasing a new Tile API and a watch face design editor made by Samsung. We’ve also got the following glimpse into how Spotify is going about redesigning its app for Wear OS.