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Google's Wear OS 3 Update Plans Will Leave Most Existing Devices Behind

Saturday July 24, 2021. 02:02 AM , from Slashdot/Apple
In a post titled 'What Wear OS 3 means for you,' Google provides a few more details about its upcoming Wear OS update plans, which will be the first major Wear OS update since Wear OS 2 in 2018. Unfortunately, as Ars Technica points out, the list of devices receiving the new update are limited to some of Mobvoi's TicWatch devices and Fossil Group's new generation of devices launching later this year. Older Wear OS devices featuring the Wear 3100 SoC, which makes up almost all the current Wear OS devices, will not support the new update. From the report: We still have next to no information about Wear OS 3, but there are a few tidbits in the upgrade announcement indicating that things will be very different. One line in the announcement lays out the requirement for a mandatory factory reset for any Wear 4100 devices upgrading from Wear OS 2 to version 3. Wear OS 3 is apparently so different that user data can't be ported over, and all local data will need to be wiped. We've certainly heard Google and Samsung talk about how Wear OS 3 will combine the 'best of Wear OS and Tizen,' indicating that even the base OS might be rebuilt.

Google also vaguely tells 4100 upgraders that 'in some limited cases, the user experience will also be impacted.' Is this a reference to the 4100 performance or the app selection and features compared to Wear OS 2? It's hard to say. Because Wear OS 3 will be so different, Google says it won't force the upgrade on 4100 users: 'We expect that for these reasons, some of you will prefer to keep your current Wear OS experience. Therefore, we will offer the system upgrade on an opt-in basis for eligible devices. We will provide more details in advance of the update so you can make an informed decision. We expect our partners to be able to roll out the system update starting in mid to second half of 2022.'

The Samsung Watch with Wear OS 3 is expected to ship sometime in August 2021, so the partner time of '2H 2022' -- potentially a year after Samsung's release -- is surprisingly late. Android has typically been very good at letting partners get early access to code, so (at least the ones that care) can be ready for launch, but this suggests Samsung is getting a huge head start. Google's message that upcoming Fossil watches, launching later this year, will be 'eligible for upgrade' to Wear OS 3 also suggests that we might see Wear OS 2 devices launch from other companies after Samsung launches Wear OS 3 next month.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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