The excitement over the upcoming version of Wear OS, a collaborative effort between Google, Fitbit, and Samsung, was partially dampened by the uncertainty of which smartwatches will actually receive the update. Unlike with smartphones, updates for smartwatches resemble the early days of Android where OEMs dictate which models get updates and which stay put. It seems that very few smartwatch makers are willing to commit to pushing the update for existing smartwatches, at least except for Mobvoi who might update its latest TicWatch Pro 3 later this year when the Wear OS update does come out.
On the one hand, it is understandable that newer software with newer features might require newer hardware. When one considers that most Wear OS smartwatches today run on a three-year-old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset that itself was a minor upgrade over a Snapdragon Wear 2100 from 2016, it seems even more likely that these smartwatches won’t be able to handle the new load the more advanced software will place on it.
On the other hand, it also doesn’t look good for a class of accessories that are expected to last a lot longer than smartphones. These smartwatches are also mostly made by fashion brands who haven’t exactly been involved directly in the mobile tech market until wearables came along. In other words, the capability of these smartwatch makers to support their products beyond a single OS version is now being put into question.
Fossil, for example, already confirmed its older smartwatches won’t get the update and will have to buy their upcoming premium (read: pricey) model to experience the new Wear OS. Fortunately, owners of Mobvoi’s current flagship can breathe a bit easier knowing that the company doesn’t plan on abandoning them so soon. According to a customer representative, at least the TicWatch Pro 3 will get what was called “Wear OS 3.0”.
Then again, the TicWacth Pro 3 is already an outlier since it is the only one running on the latest Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, meaning it probably already has the hardware needed anyway. The statement does also come from customer support that may not exactly be fully aware of the company’s plans. Unfortunately, even if Mobvoi does come through, it won’t be the same story for its other smartwatches, many of whom haven’t even received the latest minor Wear OS updates.