In just a few hours, during Google’s I/O conference, the company will unveil updates to its products and services as well as talk at length about the future roadmap for each. According to the conference website, an update to Wear OS – the company’s smartwatch operating system that they’ve all but given up on until recently – will also be announced.
The product page for Android and Google Play on the I/O website has received an updated graphic with a cute bear wearing an Android hat and what looks like a Wear OS watch around its wrist. The graphic is in line with Google’s digital approach to the conference called I/O Adventure, which is making a comeback this year. It allows users to virtually explore the convention floor, interact with displays and take part in mini-games related to the products and services. It’s honestly brilliant and I had a lot of fun with it last time. I’m excited to see what they change this year.
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It’s unclear what the update will consist of, but my guess is that it will likely feature a rebrand to something like Fitbit OS by Google, or simply ‘Wear’, dropping the ‘OS’ branding (as evidenced by the video title below), and may have some visual updates to place it more in line with the refreshed material design of Android 12.
I’m extremely hopeful that we’ll see a larger update to improve battery life, though I understand that this is mostly in the hands of chip manufacturers, despite Google’s efforts to apply ML and AI to the platform in order to manage it. However, with the company rumored to be working on its own Pixel Watch using its Fossil and Fitbit acquisitions, the tides may have just turned. Releasing a new version of Wear allows them to prepare things before any potential hardware gets announced. Even still, such an update would have to address battery concerns for other Wear hardware and not just Google’s own.
There is a dedicated slot for Wear, and you can watch that video below at 5:15 pm EST, so I don’t believe that Google is likely to cover it in detail during the main keynote at 1:00 pm EST. If nothing else, it will get a mention and a quick glimpse, but I would imagine that if it’s as drastic an update as we expect it to be, the details will be left for its own discussion as to be given the attention it deserves.