Despite being a dominant force in the global tech landscape, Google hasn’t had much success on the hardware side of things. And while the story hasn’t been as bad as Microsoft’s — thanks to Google’s Pixel lineup — it hasn’t been too shiny either. And while Pixel phones have earned critical acclaim over time, Google’s journey with wearables has been way off. We however saw strong steps in that direction with the Fitbit acquisition, and today, certain announcements cement the fact, that Google is ready to go mainstream with WearOS.
At its I/O keynote, Google announced a partnership with Samsung to develop a much better OS for smartwatches and bring the best of WearOS and Tizen together. For those who don’t know, Tizen is the OS that Samsung uses on its own smartwatches, and for the most part, it works quite wonderfully.
Google is hoping that with this partnership, it can compete with the king of the market-Apple, which has an OS that is light years ahead of Google’s. Tizen, on the other hand, has had much better luck, and has brought Samsung to the second position in the market.
With the two companies working together, the new OS actually looks pretty good, at least from the images that Google has shared.
The OS has some noticeable changes, with apps like Calm, Sleep Cycle and Flo getting their own tiles.
In terms of claimed improvements, Google says that the teams from both companies collaborated and made apps start up to 30% faster on the latest chipsets with smooth user interface animations and motion. To achieve longer battery life, they have worked to optimize the lower layers of the operating system – taking advantage of low-power hardware cores to enable better battery life. That includes handy optimizations like the ability to run the heart rate sensor continuously during the day, track your sleep overnight and still have battery for the next day. And finally, finally, the new unified platform will make it easier for developers to build great apps for the watch.
Google Maps and Google Assistant are being redesigned and improved. Google Pay will also be redesigned and add support for 26 new countries, beyond the 11 countries currently available. YouTube Music will also arrive on Wear later this year, equipped with features like smart downloads for subscribers to enjoy music while on the go.
This announcement also brings the Fitbit acquisition into light once again. The search giant had acquired Fitbit in an acquisition that raised eyebrows around the world. Now, with a better Wear OS and all the Fitbit data, Google might actually be able to give Apple a run for its money.
Moreover, with smartwatches, healthcare is the buzz of the hour. Most smartwatches come equipped with features like heart beat sensors, different workout modes and more. Apple even tried to lead the way with blood O2 monitor, even though it wasn’t the most accurate one. Google now, with the wealth of Fitbit data and health brand name that it has, can seriously look to establish itself as a force to reckon with.
“With the latest Wear update, we welcome Fitbit’s many years of health expertise to the experience. The best of Fitbit, including features like tracking your health progress throughout your day and on-wrist goal celebrations, will motivate you on your journey to better health.”