Google's Wear OS smartwatch platform is getting its much-needed overhaul this year, and Samsung is helping with the work. Through all of the announcements about the revitalization of the OS, almost all of the hype has been about Samsung with very little information about what is happening with the current crop of Wear OS manufacturers. I'm concerned about how much Google is leaning on Samsung with the Wear OS relaunch.
We trade in old phones all the time when buying a new one, but trade-in programs for smartwatches have been few and far between. Considering how many watches aren't getting the new Wear platform, this needs to change to spur adoption and avoid a lot of pissed-off watch owners.
Samsung's new One UI Watch platform was unveiled at MWC 2021, showcasing an experience that's closely tied to its popular Galaxy smartphones. The platform is build off Wear OS, which is being designed alongside Google.
Mobvoi's TicWatch's have been among the few bright spots in the Wear OS world. The TicWatch Pro 3 launched in 2020 as the first wearable on the market with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100, and in the summer of 2021 the TicWatch E3 has become the second. The TicWatch E3 is a lower-priced option with comparable performance — but it launches with a questionable future for Wear OS as we know it.