Wear OS made waves at I/O 2021 with talk of a unified platform in partnership with Samsung, new apps, Fitbit integration, and Android 11 update. However, in the short-term, Google mentioned today that the next Wear OS platform update will be available in the “coming weeks.”
This platform update, which we assume to be H-MR3, was first teased in March when Google started letting third-party apps create custom Wear OS Tiles using a new Jetpack library. To date, all tiles have been from Google, including Weather, Fit, and News.
At the “What’s new with Wear” session today, Google noted that “any custom Tiles using this library will be available to users in the coming weeks with the new platform update.” It’s unclear if any other changes will be included besides the third-party support. At this point, Wear OS H-MR2 has widely rolled out.
Meanwhile, Google today shared some of the new Tiles coming (seen above). This includes Sleep Cycle, Home 19, Adidas Running, Calm, Outdooractive, Flo, and Golf Pad. They are unsurprisingly all health and fitness related.
At the session, the company also shared that better application discovery and distribution is coming. The most convenient will let you install apps to a watch directly from the phone Play Store as it offers a better browsing experience. This behavior change is somewhat a return to the old approach, but the underlying architecture should still be the modern one. By default, a new app will download on both your phone and wearable. Users, however, will have a dropdown to just select one or the other. Google also touts improved category search and better app merchandising.
Besides touting more partners, Google also previewed an upcoming Bitmoji watch face that will be available later this year. Your character will react to fitness data throughout the day, similar to the one available on Fitbit.
The Wear app ecosystem is growing. We’re working with a number of developers to bring richer, more immersive app experiences to the platform like Strava, Adidas, Golf Pad, Flo, Spotify, Swim.com, Seven, Cardiogram, Hole 19, C25K, Ski Tracks, Calm, and Sleep Cycle.
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