Google is finally taking smartwatches more seriously. The company’s latest Google Pixel Watch sets a clear example of how a smartwatch should work. Of course, there are many more smartwatches on the market, each promising better performance, and experience than the other. However, there are still less than a dozen Wear OS 3.0 running watches, and only a handful of Wear OS 3.5 running devices.
What is Wear OS 3.0?
Wear OS 3.0 is one of the biggest update in Google’s smartwatch operating system. Wear OS 3 offers significant upgrades and improvements over previous versions of Android Wear platform. One of the key improvements is the faster app loading times, improved battery life, new animations, and a completely redesigned user interface. The platform enhances the overall experience, and drastically revamps it in an attempt to make the new smartwatches last longer, and become a more pleasant experience.
What’s the difference between Wear OS 3.0 and Wear OS 3.5?
Wear OS 3.5 improves on the already fantastic Wear OS 3 experience with further enhancements and optimizations to make the experience more fluid. There are many enhancements under the hood that also enable more accurate tracking when doing fitness activities and sports, heart rate tracking, and more. There are also more and better third-party apps that allow fitness tracking, all while the core experience has largely remained the same from Wear OS 3.
It’s worth noting that not every feature on Wear OS 3.5 is available to every smartwatch, and there are other visual differences when comparing the likes of Pixel smartwatches and Galaxy watches. Samsung uses its custom One UI Watch interface, a skin on top of Wear OS 3.5. Needless to say, Samsung has added a few additional features and settings, specific to Samsung phones, and Google also added additional tracking information behind the Fitbit paywall.
Wear OS 3 smartwatches
- Montblanc Summit 3
- Fossil Gen 6
- Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition
- Michael Kors Gen 6
- Skagen Falster Gen 6
- Razer x Fossil Gen 6
Fossil was one of the fastest companies to update its existing Gen 6 lineup of smartwatches to Wear OS 3. The company also went on to update its other Gen 6 smartwatches, including the watches from Michael Kors, Skagen, the special Wellness Edition, and the exclusive Razer X Fossil smartwatch.
Montblanc also unveiled its new luxury, $1,290 Summit 3 smartwatch that came preinstalled with Wear OS 3.0 from day one. The Summit 3 was the first non-Samsung smartwatch to be announced with the new update. The watch also has limited support for iPhone and iOS users, but it lacks key features such as Google Assistant.
The Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch comes with Wear OS and a Qualcomm 4100+ chipset. The watch can track activity goals, SPO2, sleep, and many more. It has a 3ATM waterproof design, and it has a fast charge feature to keep you on the go.
Skagen Falster Gen 6
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 smartwatch is among the first devices to support the latest Wear OS 3 platform. It’s equipped with the Qualcomm 4100+ chipset, and it can track activity goals, steps, sleep, heart ratio, blood oxygen and more. It also has GPS, and it supports contactless payments.
Michael Kors Access Gen 6
The Michael Kors Gen 6 smartwatch runs Wear OS 3, and it comes with all of the must-have features that you expect from a fashionable smartwatch. It can track your heart rate, blood oxygen, and there’s also GPS and contactless payment built-in.
Wear OS 3.5 smartwatches
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 & 4 Classic
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 & 5 Pro
- Google Pixel Watch
The list of compatible Wear OS 3.5 smartwatches is very small. As you can see, Samsung is still dominating the list with its excellent Galaxy Watch 4 series and Galaxy Watch 5 series of smartwatches. Google also joined the race with its own Pixel Watch, which has since been awarded by Pocketnow as one the best smartwatches in 2022.
In case you can’t decide between the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Pixel Watch, or the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro vs Pixel Watch, we recommend you check out our guides that go in-depth, comparing the features, design, and performance.
Promised, but hasn’t yet updated
- TicWatch Pro 3 GPS/LTE
- TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra
- TicWatch E3
Despite Mobvoi promising the Wear OS 3.0 update to its latest TicWatch Pro 3 series, and the E3-series of smartwatches, the company hasn’t made any formal public announcements regarding the state of its Wear OS 3 update schedule and timeline. Using online forums and social media, we discovered many frustrated users, who are complaining about the lack of online communication and the missing update.
On December 22, 2022, the company announced its new subscription program, which lets users receive more insight into their health activities and sleep functions for $2.99 per month. This is very similar to Google’s Fitbit subscription system, and we’ll likely see similar paid programs on other smartwatches in the near future.
As it stands, it’s unclear if Mobvoi will ever release the update to its smartwatches, and if you’re looking to join the smartwatch world, we’d recommend you try elsewhere, for now.
What to expect in 2023?
Alongside the usual quality-of-life improvements, we expect Google to make further optimizations to the platform and introduce new features that users have been asking for. We would also love to see new improvements made to the entire platform, and more focus on switching between Android devices, and transferring the watch contents to other devices easier.
It’s not clear what Google has in store for us in 2023, but we’ll likely find out more about the future of Wear OS at the Google I/O developer conference, which is usually held in May or June in Mountain View, California. In the meantime, let us know what smartwatch you’re currently wearing, and what features you’d love to see coming to Wear OS in the future!