Xiaomi’s expected foray into the WearOS 3 ecosystem
Xiaomi is rumoured to be entering the WearOS 3 arena, a software system used by a number of major manufacturers.
The company’s entry into the smartwatch market began with the Mi Band series. The original Mi Band, which debuted in August 2014, was praised for its impressive 30-day battery life. It also had basic fitness tracking capabilities, and the one-of-a-kind feature of unlocking phones based on proximity.
Within a year, Xiaomi had risen to become the world’s second-largest wearables manufacturer thanks to its innovative approach. The Mi Band 2 and Mi Band 3 iterations added features such as accurate heart rate tracking, an improved pedometer algorithm, and improved water resistance. What followed in subsequent years was a slew of other wearables.
Xiaomi is not a stranger to WearOS
The Mi Watch was the company’s original entry into the WearOS ecosystem in 2019. This smartwatch distinguished itself through its adaptation and customisation of WearOS, establishing a precedent for other manufacturers.
WearOS and MIUI Watch OS, are essentially two distinct operating systems for smartwatches, provide users with distinct experiences. Google’s WearOS, which is known for its adaptability, is compatible with a wide range of Android and iOS devices. It supports many Google Play Store apps and is well-known for its integration with Google services such as Google Assistant and Google Pay.
MIUI Watch OS on the other hand, stands out for its long battery life. This is largely a result of its streamlined and lightweight software. MIUI Watch OS’s compatibility with Xiaomi’s ecosystem is critical, providing a unified user experience, particularly for those who already own Xiaomi smartphones. However, unlike WearOS, MIUI Watch OS does not support as many third-party apps, which limits its functionality.
9to5Google was the first to report on the possibility of a WearOS 3 watch back in March. But since then a number of regulatory approvals have popped up. An upcoming Xiaomi smartwatch has already received EEC, TUV PLS and IMDA certifications, indicating its impending release. A Redmi watch has also received the IMDA’s stamp of approval. One of these two could be the rumoured wearOS watch.
Despite the lack of specifics, the device is expected to pack e-SIM support. This would allow users to make voice calls without the need for a smartphone connection. Apparently, the planned Xiaomi smartwatch will continue to be supported by the Mi Fitness smartphone app but Wear OS 3 will be used as its operating system.
The WearOS landscape is evolving
The WearOS landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Google launched the improved Wear OS 3 in collaboration with Samsung, enticing developers with a larger app selection and a more robust platform. It should therefore come as no surprise that Xiaomi is potentially preparing to release a Wear OS 3 timepiece. Hopefully by the end of this year as we are expecting Wear OS 4 to make its debut in the near future.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
In a market flooded with $200 smartwatches, Xiaomi’s challenge is to offer a reasonably priced Wear OS 3 watch that carves out a new niche for itself. Also, with Xiaomi’s mid-range smartwatches boasting two weeks of battery life, the switch to WearOS, which typically offers only a few days, can be seen as a double-edged sword.
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