Is Google itself downplaying the relevance of its Wear OS smartwatch platform? That seems to be the case when nary a mention of smartwatches was made in its latest Google Assistant dump of new features. And now it has almost silently made an update to Wear OS, simply called “Version H” that you’d think would actually be of interest to its users. Because while it might not be a grand update, it addresses one of the biggest flaws of smartwatches to date: battery life.
It’s one of those minor updates that could significantly improve user experience overall. Smartwatches, particularly Wear OS smartwatches, are not exactly known for their long battery lives. Any small improvement to prolong that life is going to be received quite positively.
If the smartwatch hasn’t detected any activity within the past 30 minutes, it will presume it’s not worn at the moment. And so, it will go into a deep sleep mode to conserve battery until you pick it up or activate it again. But should you find your smartwatch dipping below 10% charge, Wear OS will activate Battery Saver Mode and only display the time, pretty much like a regular watch.
Google is also improving the platform’s ease of use in Version H. For example, you will be able to resume where you left off when switching between apps or using them again after a period of inactivity. Turning off or restarting the smartwatch will also no longer requiring digging into settings. Simply hold down the power button until the power off screen appears, pretty much like an Android smartphone.
Google says that the update will be hitting devices in the next few months, so perhaps Version H is just a teaser of a larger update that’s yet to come. Still, Google could have used this opportunity to drum up hype about upcoming Wear OS features and to assure both users and partners that it hasn’t lost interest in its own smartwatch platform just yet.