Google says it's not that simple, future Wear OS support is still being worked out

Fossil Gen 5E
Fossil Gen 5E (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Update, June 17 (2:20 p.m. ET): Google chimes in on Wear OS support

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm has stated that its current smartwatch chips can support the upcoming Wear OS update.
  • The company says that it is working with Google on bringing the new update to current chips.
  • Fossil has already stated that current watches aren't getting the update, and Mobvoi seems unsure.

Qualcomm has stated that its current smartwatch chips can support the upcoming Wear OS update that Google and Samsung are developing.

The company spoke to XDA-Developers and confirmed support with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100, and even the older Snapdragon Wear 3100. This could potentially enable many of the best Wear OS watches to extend their lifespans. That said, Qualcomm's statement still leaves plenty up in the air.

We are working with Google on bringing Wear OS 3.0 to Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and 4100 platforms. Snapdragon Wear 3100, 4100+ and 4100 platforms are capable of supporting Wear OS 3.0, but we are not discussing any specifics at this time.

Qualcomm's statement to XDA was echoed to Android Central when pressed for comment and suggests that the details surrounding support may not be ironed out. Qualcomm seems confident that its chips can run the new Wear OS version, but it might ultimately be up to Google and smartwatch OEMs whether or not older devices will receive the update.

Fossil has already stated that it's not updating its existing smartwatches to the new Wear OS version, which leaves out popular devices like the Fossil Gen 5E. However, it's always possible that the company can reverse course on that decision. Meanwhile, things are still unclear for the two devices running Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon Wear platform like the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS and the newly released TicWatch E3.

For now, we can be certain that upcoming smartwatches from Fitbit and Samsung will run the new Wear OS, with some rumors indicating that Samsung is using an Exynos chip for its device. However, it still leaves many current Wear OS owners out of luck or clinging to hope.

Samsung is expected to show off more about the next Wear OS version at an upcoming MWC 2021 showcase. With any luck, there will be more information regarding support for existing devices.

Update, June 17 (2:20 p.m. ET) ― Google provides a statement about the upcoming Wear OS update

Google has provided a bit more insight into the matter regarding future Wear OS support. A spokesperson told us that eligibility remains unconfirmed, suggesting that there may be more to the equation:

User experience is a top priority for us. We have not confirmed eligibility or timeline on whether any Wear OS smartwatch will update to the new unified platform. There are many technical requirements in order to run the unified platform that ensures all components of the user experience are optimized.

The statement largely mirrors what Mobvoi has stated regarding the update on its own devices. While Qualcomm is confident that its chips can handle the update, Google doesn't seem ready to commit until the technical aspects are ironed out.

While it would be nice to have more clarity on future Wear OS support, it seems we'll have to wait a bit longer before we have a better idea.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.