Image source: Qualcomm

Google finally clarifies which watches are likely to run Wear OS 3.0

There is lots of confusion as to which devices will be able to run Wear OS 3.0. Google has now made the situation clearer. It seems it will be a very limited rollout.

Last month, Qualcomm said that watches packing Snapdragon Wear 3100 or Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+ will be capable of running the upgraded platform.

This was confirmed in a statement to xda-developers. A spokesperson from Qualcomm had this to say.

“We are working with Google on bringing Wear OS 3.0 to 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 any specifics at this time.”

The nuance in the wording was interesting. The statement says the duo is “working” on bringing the operating system to 4100 platforms. But it only adds that 3100s are “capable of supporting” it.

A new Google blog post now lists the watches that may run the platform by name. To be more precise it lists devices “eligible for upgrade”.

Google Wear OS 3.0 – what is it?

Unless you have been living under a rock since a while, you would have heard of Google’s plans for its operating system. It is teaming up with Samsung and Fitbit on a new and improved Wear OS 3.0.

Due out towards the end of this year, this is expected to fix some of the common issues with watches running the platform. Sluggish performance, short battery life and health and fitness tracking that leaves a lot to be desired should be top of this list.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

The hope is that Wear OS 3.0 will be a worthy opponent to the arch enemy – the Apple WatchOS! It will be the biggest update to Wear OS in a long time.

Which watches might be compatible with Wear OS 3.0?

What was not clear since 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 operating system.

But this doesn’t mean all watch with Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100+, and 4100 will. For example, Fossil has said that its Gen 6 watches will benefit from the new Wear OS, but older devices won’t. Qualcomm’s statement at least confirms that new hardware is not necessary to run the system.

here the list of watches that could potentially run wear os 30 - Google finally clarifies which watches are likely to run Wear OS 3.0

Now Google has helped clear the confusion. Or has it?

Google says installing WearOS 3.0 will require you to “upgrade and reset your smartwatch to the way it was when you first got it”, i.e. to factory settings”. Then it adds that because of this, some users may not wish to upgrade. For that reason it will offer the new operating system on an opt-in basis.

As far as when this will happen, the search giant says it expects brands to start rolling out the update to eligible devices in “mid to second half of 2022”. That is a bit of a surprise as it was expected this would be earlier.

Now the most interesting bit. Which devices will be able to run the platform.

Google says this includes Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE, TicWatch E3 and follow on TicWatch devices. The only other devices it includes on this list are Fossil Group’s new generation of devices launching later this year. So no mention of Suunto, Montblanc and other brands.

The wording is interesting. The above is a list of devices eligible for the upgrade. This means that Fossil Gen 6 watches expected to land in the months ahead will not get the new operating system until well into 2022. Fossil had earlier announced that the current line of watches will not be eligible for the upgrade so owners of Gen 5 and earlier are well out of luck.

Why such a late launch? Who knows. That’s particularly puzzling considering Samsung is expected to release its Galaxy smartwatches next month that will run a tweaked version of Wear OS 3.

Google adds that those that have eligible devices but choose not to upgrade will get software and security updates for a minimum of two years (from device launch). The same applies for those that do not have eligible devices.

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