In May, during I/O 2021, Google announced a complete overhaul of its platform for w (wearable devices, in free translation), the Wear OS. Since then, we've had a preview of the new operating system on an emulator, while the Samsung confirmed that the new Galaxy Watch will be the first to ship it. But some questions about the new Wear OS 3 still remain: one of them is the situation of updating smartwatches with Wear OS 2, clarified by Google this Thursday (22).

Some watches will come with the new system from the factory, others can be upgraded. Image: Google/Disclosure

Since the announcement of the unification of the system for the new Wear OS 3, there has been a question whether this operating system would be available for existing smartwatches. According to the website 9to5google, Google announced that only a few devices currently on sale will currently have the Wear OS 3 update. They are: the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, the TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular / LTE and TicWatch E3.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is one of the devices currently on sale currently that will receive the update for Wear OS 3. Image: Amazon

In addition, big tech revealed that new watches from Fossil Group and Mobvoi will be released that won't run Wear OS 3 right away, but will have the option to upgrade later. 

Smartwatches that don't have the native Wear OS 3 can suffer undisclosed “impacts”

However, Google has warned that watches that don't leave the factory with Wear OS 3 will be subject to unspecified “impacts” in the user experience in “some limited cases”. In today's statement, the company did not specify whether this refers to the unavailability of some new features or performance constraints. 

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Even the 2020 processor-based devices aren't able to run the unified platform optimally, given how significant the Wear OS upgrade is, but Google would still like to offer recent users a way to upgrade. 

For this reason, the Wear OS 3 update will be made available as an option to users of TicWatch and Fossil Group products. End users who decide to upgrade will have to do a factory reset during the process and start from scratch. 

Google promises to “provide more details before the upgrade so you can make a proper decision”.

All TicWatch models scheduled to receive the update are chip-based Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100, announced last June, which may mean a minimum required hardware requirement.

As for the timetable, Google said partners won't start updating Wear OS 3 until the “second half of 2022”. In addition, he communicated that “Wear OS 2.0 users who choose not to upgrade will continue to get new application experiences at the same level as the Gboard and from the Material You Play Store, as well as security updates for at least two years from the device's launch.”

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