Excitement over the next major iteration of Wear OS was tempered by the most important question of all, “will it run on my smartwatch?” Unfortunately, Google’s official statement is to wait for its official statement, and manufacturers other than Fossil have been ambiguous about their commitment to current Wear OS smartwatches in the market. That has, in turn, raised questions about the upcoming Wear OS’s hardware requirements, which Qualcomm is now settling by saying that even its nearly three-year-old Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform is capable of running Wear OS 3.0.
Newer and more powerful software sometimes requires more powerful hardware. That may have been one of the theories behind the upcoming Wear OS upgrade and the reason why so few smartwatch makers have been willing to commit to updating their wearables. Instead, they might follow Fossil’s lead and only promise that software for its upcoming premium hardware.
Those speculations naturally put Qualcomm’s wearable platforms in a negative light. After all, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 isn’t that new and wasn’t all that powerful even when it launched back in 2018. To say that Wear OS devices are lagging in the hardware department wouldn’t really be an understatement. Despite that perception, Qualcomm insists its chipsets are more than capable of supporting whatever Google throws at it.
In a statement to XDA, a Qualcomm spokesperson says that the Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100, and 4100+ platforms can run Wear OS 3.0. Along with the assurance, the statement is probably one of the few times we’ve heard the next Wear OS release called by a “Wear OS 3.0” name, especially coming from a close partner.
Of course, just because it can doesn’t mean it will. Existing smartwatches running Wear OS 3.0 will still depend on Qualcomm releasing Board Support Packages and OEMs using that to build updates for their wearables. Considering the work required to make that happen, it wouldn’t be surprising if most OEMs suddenly get selective amnesia about the smartwatches they have launched and only focus on recent or upcoming ones.