The next generation of Wear OS is around the corner, with Google slowly progressing on Wear OS 3 through developer previews. This week, the company has quietly released another emulator image, which shows some progress since the last time we dove in.

The last time we took a close look at Wear OS 3 was back in December, and not much has really changed in the time since. The interface itself is virtually identical, without any notable tweaks to the settings menu, notifications, or other features. The biggest differences are all just polishing the product.

One example of tweaks we’ve observed include changing the icons in the app drawer, with some built-in apps showing new icons that are more akin to Google’s “Themed icons” feature in Android 12, albeit without a constant color throughout these icons. Apps with this change include Calendar apps, Alarm, Hand-Wash Timer, Settings, Stopwatch, and others. Another place where Google has tweaked icons is in the notifications tray, with system icons adopting a uniform color palette. These changes aren’t necessarily new to this latest preview, but have trickled out over the past couple of months of releases.

Unfortunately, there’s no sign of the new Google Assistant design that was announced earlier this month, at least not at the surface level.

Perhaps one of the biggest recent changes to Wear OS development is that this new version has picked up the moniker “Wear OS 3.2.” However, even that’s not particularly new, as the Galaxy Watch 4 currently runs Wear OS 3.2 on its latest updates.

This latest preview also adds the March 2022 security patch.

It’s a bit disappointing to see so few changes, but it’s good to see that Google is actively working on Wear OS ahead of its launch. It’s also key to remember that these emulator images don’t necessarily reflect what might ship on an actual product, and that much of the work Google is putting into Wear OS 3 is under the hood.

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Ben Schoon

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