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Processor update might make Google's Wear OS a better Apple Watch competitor

11 May 2018

I remember my Moto 360 2nd-gen was surprisingly stable, though not flawless, when the Android Wear 1.5 update came out.

Google has made some minor tweaks to the wearable OS it insists is doing just great. Instead of improving the experience, it ended up killing it.

It's 2018 and Google is still struggling with wearables. However, we're curious to know if Wear OS can match Apple's watchOS in terms of its apps support.

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Smartwatch announcements were noticeably absent from the Google I/O keynote, despite the fact that every exec seemed to be wearing one on-stage. So for example, after asking about the weather, the Assistant in Wear OS will also provide you with an extended forecast covering the next five days. The problem was that the rebranding didn't come with any new features or updates that advanced the capabilities of the platform. And the second update involves limiting background activities and foreground service.

This joint effort aims to expand global availability, as well as accelerate the availability of key new enhancements to consumers, such as multi-camera support, display cutout support, indoor navigation, HDR, among others. Basically all that you will be able to do is check the time. To switch back to full mode, a long press on the same button will do that for you. That's a nice addition that brings the products up to speed with the rest of the Google Assistant ecosystem. Be sure to observe best practices for Actions on Google to get the best results such as short concise dialogue and adopting to both visual and vocal feedback. With that it will also offer follow up questions. This does presume that all Wear OS devices will have at least one button.

We are already starting to see some of this work pay off, with an expanded list of devices that are already compatible with the Android P developer preview, as compared to previous Android betas. Being based on the upcoming Android release, Wear OS by Google, formerly Android Wear also by Google, is similarly getting a sneak peek. The chipmaker's third-generation platform would be a significant departure design-wise from its first two offerings for Android Wear.

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Qualcomm's Senior Wearables Director Pankaj Kedia revealed the development of the new platform for Wear OS smartwatches in a conversation with Wareable.

The next generation, which expected to arrive later during the year, will be goal built, and we can expect to have different variations. The first update rolls back the Wi-Fi off when Bluetooth is disconnected feature.

Here's to hoping that the new tech brings a much-needed boost to Wear OS.

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Processor update might make Google's Wear OS a better Apple Watch competitor