Based on materials from phonearena.com
Remember the rumors about Google's Pixel Watch announcement? This smartwatch was supposed to bring Wear OS (née Android Wear) to the level of Samsung smartwatches and Apple. The device was supposed to usher in a new era of wearable devices on Android, which will combine the most powerful software and the most premium hardware to provide the best user experience. Remember? So, now forget about it.
Despite numerous rumors about the existence of the Pixel Watch, emerging from credible sources in the past few months, the smartwatch from the search giant was never announced at this year's Made by Google event. Why did it happen? It's simple: Google doesn't think Wear OS is Pixel-ready.
This is not to say that smartwatches on Android are having better times right now. Moreover, this has been the case for several years. Due to lack of popularity and half-dead sales, Google decided at the beginning of this year to rebrand – changing the name Android Wear to Wear OS in the hope that this will allow it to start from scratch and find ground underfoot in the market where Apple and Samsung reign. The rebranding was a necessary step given the fact that every third smartwatch at Android was purchased to work with iPhone, and as part of the broader trend of Google taking the name Android from cross-platform services. But it's one thing to change the name of a product. And it is completely different to invent it again.
One of the constraints that have limited the proliferation of smartwatches to Android in the past was at their very core – it was the technology applied. Until Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon Wear 2100 in 2016, the smartwatch Android ran on a modified Snapdragon 400 smartphone chipset. It was no good, and even though the 2100 was better , he also desperately needed a replacement. Fortunately, Qualcomm released the Snapdragon 3100 in September, a promising next-generation chipset originally made for wearable devices.
But even the new chipset and rebranding operating system weren't enough to keep the Pixel Watch successful. In late August, in an interview with Tom's Guide, Miles Barr, director of Google's Wear OS engineering, said Google was focusing on improving the operating system and working with partners to ship products before the end of 2018. The list of partners included such worthy names as Fossil and Casio, but Google's actions in this direction demonstrate the company's doubts about Wear OS. For Google, partnering with other brands is like trying out the pen with the full knowledge that their OS is still not Pixel-ready.
And that's not necessarily a bad sign. At the very least, the company is trying to address the many shortcomings of Wear OS, led by low battery life, – and do so before its own devices are released. It looks like all future releases of Wear OS products will be something like one big open beta test, which is not very pleasant.
Google combines great ambition and the support of industry leaders in fashion and technology – everything it takes to realize its vision for the final version of Wear OS. Smartwatches on Android are still far from being successful in the market, despite redesigned software and new hardware from Qualcomm, but the future of the platform does not look bleak. Hopefully, Google's big Wear OS beta test, conceived as a series of releases from other brands, doesn't ruin the reputation Android for wearables even more.
One of Google's main goals with Wear OS is to move away from numbered versions. The company hopes that this will allow it to release updates with improvements on a regular basis instead of yearly. This approach can help significantly improve the operating system in a shorter amount of time. So even if you buy a Wear OS 'beta' smartwatch in the coming months, at least you won't have to wait an entire year for an update that fixes the flaws (and brings new ones with it).