New Mobvoi TicWatches won't run Wear OS 3 at launch, upgrade in 2022

Google turned the excitement around its next major update to its Wear OS platform and doused it with the cold water of uncertainty. After teasing the improvements that Wear OS 3 would bring to the table, Google left people hanging on whether existing smartwatches, especially those released within the past year and a half, would even get the upgrade. Mobvoi is one of the few that has publicly committed to Wear OS 3, but it seems that there's a small catch to its promise.

There's still some confusion and plenty of questions about Google's plans for the Wear OS 3 rollout. Few smartwatch manufacturers have ever committed to upgrading existing models to the upcoming Wear OS release. There has been speculation that Google raised the minimum hardware requirements for Wear OS 3 that made those older smartwatches incompatible.

Even that, however, isn't completely clear. The only new smartwatch launching this year with Wear OS 3 that we know so far is Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Watch 4. Mobvoi, the only one so far to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, just launched a new smartwatch, but that didn't run the new Wear OS. Now it seems that this will be the same story for the next TicWatch devices for the rest of the year until 2022.

In a statement to 9to5Google, the company reveals that its TicWatch Pro 3 (GPS and LTE models) and the new TicWatch E3 will be eligible for a Wear OS 3 upgrade coming in the mid to second half of 2022. It also notes that future TicWatches will be the same, implying that these, too, will launch with the current version of Wear OS, not Wear OS 3.

The good news there is that Mobvoi will upgrade those future smartwatches, but it does leave some doubt whether it will be able to make good on that promise. After all, there's still more than a year before it rolls out the promised update, and a lot can happen before then. It also still leaves the situation for other smartwatches unclear, leaving consumers uncertain how to move forward with Wear OS 3 just around the corner.