There is lots of confusion as to which devices will be able to run Wear OS 3.0. Google and the individual manufacturers are slowly making the situation clearer.
In June, Qualcomm said that watches packing Snapdragon Wear 3100 or Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+ will be capable of running the upgraded platform. 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 said the duo is “working” on bringing the operating system to 4100 platforms. But it only added that 3100s are “capable of supporting” it.
In July a Google blog post listed the watches that may run the platform by name. To be more precise it listed 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 as a finished product 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 will be compatible with Wear OS 3.0?
What was not clear following 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+, nd 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.
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.
The search giant 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.
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.
The only exception is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It runs on a fused platform. More precisely, there’s a One UI Watch skin that overlays the Wear OS 3.0. The idea is to get the best of both worlds – the familiar Samsung software look and feel, along with benefits that are to be had from Google Play Store.
But what about other brands? Which of their devices will be able to run the platform in 2022? This is the confirmed list as it currently stands:
- Fossil Gen 6 watches – they are official as of a few days ago. Fossil has confirmed than anything below Gen 6 will not be eligible for the upgrade so owners of these devices are well out of luck.
- Michael Kors Gen 6 Bradshaw
- Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
- TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE
- TicWatch E3 and follow on TicWatch devices.
What’s clearly missing from this list are Suunto, Montblanc and other brands. There’s been no word from them yet. We will update this list when we hear more.
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