Google has so far confirmed that only a handful of current and upcoming smartwatches will be upgradeable to Wear OS 3 later this year.

Update: Tag Heuer has unveiled a new smartwatch set to get a Wear OS 3 upgrade.

Wear OS 3 is set to bring a massive amount of improvements to the Android-powered smartwatches, not the least of which is an update to Android 11. Samsung also played a role in the development of Wear OS 3, bringing the best of its Tizen OS watches to create a “unified platform.”

Given how different the new version will be from the existing Wear OS experience, most current smartwatches, including all watches powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip and earlier, will not be receiving the update. Instead, all of the currently available watches that will get the Wear OS 3 update — a trio from Mobvoi — are powered by the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip.

While the jump from Snapdragon Wear 2100 to 3100 had a noticeable impact on smartwatch performance, Snapdragon Wear 4100 was the most significant chip upgrade Qualcomm has offered for wearables in many years. This difference in performance is undoubtedly one of the reasons why those earlier smartwatches are being left behind by Wear OS 3.

Looking ahead, watches coming soon from both Fossil and Mobvoi will launch with Wear OS 2 and get upgraded at a later date. More specifically, the actual update to Wear OS 3 won’t arrive for compatible smartwatches until “mid to second half of 2022.”

Update 9/1/21: With Fossil’s latest smartwatches now official, more information about their upgrade path has become available. Specifically, all of Fossil’s Gen 6 watches, including those from sub-brands like Michael Kors, will launch with Wear OS 2, and in 2022 the option to upgrade to Wear OS 3.0 will become available.

Update 1/10/22: Fossil’s lineup of sixth generation watches has continued to expand over the last few months, all of which are also set to gain Wear OS 3 when that update becomes available sometime this year. The latest smartwatches to join are the Razer x Fossil, a limited edition watch marketed to gamers and lovers of all things RGB, and the Skagen Falster Gen 6, one of the most elegant smartwatches on the market today, held back only by its current use of Wear OS 2.

Update 2/14/22: The luxury watch brand Tag Heuer has recently unveiled their latest Wear OS powered watch, the Calibre E4. Just as you’d hope for a watch that starts at $1,800, it’s running the latest Snapdragon Wear 4100+, and as such has been promised to get updated to Wear OS 3, though no timeline for that upgrade has been shared.

Just as had been assumed ahead of its release, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 series launched in August 2021 with the “unified platform,” marking the debut of Wear OS 3. So far, though, no other smartwatches have been confirmed or rumored to launch with Wear OS 3 out of the box.

Smartwatches that will be upgraded to Wear OS 3

More on Wear OS 3:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

Got a tip or want to chat? Twitter or Email.

Kyle Bradshaw's favorite gear