Like Android 13, many Wear OS 3 features haven’t been released as Google looks to continue the Pixel Watch’s momentum. In the meantime, we’ve discovered other yet-to-be-announced functionality of the platform.
Smart Unlock / Watch Unlock (Google)
At CES 2022 in January, Google announced that paired Wear OS smartwatches will let you “instantly unlock and access your Chromebook and your phone or tablet.” It’s framed as an expansion of Smart Lock between ChromeOS and Android phones rather than the Bluetooth-based Trusted Devices feature.
When your watch is unlocked and brought near the paired mobile phone, you will get “[phone] It’s unlocked by this watch’s notification which has a “lock again” button to cancel. On the phone’s lock screen (at the bottom), you’ll also get an “Unlocked by Watch” notification.
At the time, Google told us that this capability was coming to “Wear OS 3 smartwatches” with “coming months” on the timeline. It remains to be seen if this feature will come by the end of the year (or if Wear OS 3 devices other than the Pixel Watch will get it), but our APK Insight shows that work is in progress.
More features of Google Wallet
Currently, Google Wallet for Wear OS only allows you to add credit/debit cards to make payments on the wrist. The full mobile app supports boarding and transit passes, as well as loyalty cards.
Being able to access these things on your phone would be good for par, and Google promised in July that more features would come to a Wear OS release by the end of the year, while we’ve seen recent evidence of work on transport, event, and flight alerts.
Wear OS backups
We’ve also seen work on backups of watch faces, tiles, device settings, and app data. This should make the experience of creating a new wearable less time-consuming.
Discover the fall of the Pixel Watch
The Pixel Watch is set to reveal this fall this winter (summer in Australia), suggesting availability early 2023:
When a heavy fall is detected, your Google Pixel Watch will alert you and ask if you want to call emergency services.
Availability of Google Assistant and Extended Fit
Wear OS 3 watches powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 do not yet support Google Assistant. Fossil said Google is working on it, but there’s no timeline yet.
Meanwhile, the status of Google Fit on Wear OS 3 is somewhat murky. It works for some on the Pixel Watch, but Fossil’s official line last month was that it “hasn’t been updated to support the latest Wear Health services.”
Google News and updated maps
On the apps front, Google News appears to be the next first-party Wear OS app with a panel that opens a more complete app that appears to display the article title and cover photo with the ability to open on your phone.
With the announcement of the Galaxy Watch 5, Google stated that you’ll be able to use “Google Maps from your wrist without a smartphone connection.”
Beyond first-party features, apps, and services, Google continues to push for broader developer adoption as we saw at the Android Dev Summit. With the Pixel Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Fossil’s ongoing update, and new hardware yet to come (we’re still waiting for the first Snapdragon W5+ watches), Wear OS is seeing more momentum than it’s been in recent years, and Google seems eager to continue that.
What features of Wear OS 3 or Pixel Watch do you want? Comment below!
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