There’s a lot of confusion about which devices will be able to run Wear OS 3.0. Google and individual manufacturers are slowly clarifying the situation.
In June, Qualcomm said watches containing Snapdragon Wear 3100 or Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+ will be able to run the upgraded platform. A Qualcomm spokesperson had this to say.
“We are working with Google to bring Wear OS 3.0 to the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and 4100 platforms. Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100+ and 4100 are capable of supporting Wear OS 3.0, but we are not discussing specifics at this time.
The nuance in the wording was interesting. The release says the duo is “working” to bring the operating system to 4100 platforms. But he only added that the 3100s are “capable of handling it”.
In July, a Google blog post listed watches likely to run the platform by name. To be more specific, it lists “upgrade-eligible” devices.
Google Wear OS 3.0 – what is it?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you would have heard of Google’s plans for its operating system. It partners with Samsung and Fitbit on a new and improved Wear OS 3.0 operating system.
Due to be released as a finished product towards the end of this year, this should fix some of the common issues with watches running the platform. Slow performance, short battery life, and health and fitness tracking that leave a lot to be desired should be high on the list.
Essential Reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
The hope is that Wear OS 3.0 will be a worthy adversary to the nemesis – the Apple WatchOS! This will be the biggest Wear OS update in a long time.
Which watches will be compatible with Wear OS 3.0?
What wasn’t clear after the original Wear OS 3.0 announcement was which devices would be compatible. Qualcomm had clarified things a bit with its statement, so at least we know which watches could theoretically run the OS.
But that doesn’t mean that all watches with Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100+ and 4100 will be. For example, Fossil said its Gen 6 watches will get the new Wear OS, but older devices won’t. Qualcomm’s statement at least confirms that new hardware isn’t needed to run the system.
Now Google has helped clear up the confusion. Where does he have it?
Google says installing WearOS 3.0 will prompt you to “upgrade and reset your smartwatch to the way it was when you first received it” i.e. to factory settings. Then he adds that because of this, some users may not want to upgrade, for this reason he will offer the new OS on an opt-in basis.
The search giant adds that those who have eligible devices but choose not to upgrade will receive software and security updates for at least two years (from device launch). The same goes for those who don’t have eligible devices.
As for when that will happen, the search giant says it expects brands to start rolling out the update to eligible devices in “mid or second half of 2022.” It’s a bit of a surprise because we expected it to be earlier.
The only exception is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It runs on a merged platform. Specifically, there is a One UI Watch skin that overlays Wear OS 3.0. The idea is to get the best of both worlds – the look and feel of Samsung software, plus the benefits of Google Play Store.
But what about other brands? Which of their devices will be able to run the platform in 2022? Here is the confirmed roster as it currently stands:
- Fossil Gen 6 watches – they have been official for a few days. Fossil has confirmed that anything below Gen 6 won’t be eligible for the upgrade, so owners of those devices are out of luck.
- Michael Kors Gen 6 Bradshaw
- Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
- TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE
- TicWatch E3 and track on TicWatch devices.
What is clearly missing from this list are Suunto, Montblanc and other brands. There has been no news from them yet. We’ll update this list when we know more.
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