The first-party Pixel Watch is the next biggest moment for Wear OS after last year’s Samsung partnership. The team responsible provided an update today on the state of the platform.

Wired talked to Björn Kilburn, director of product management for Wear OS, in an interview that reveals how Google’s goal is to “release a new version of Wear generally every year in a similar fashion to mobile.” It’s unclear if that annual update goal is referring to, for example, 3.0 -> 4.0 or whether 3.0 -> 3.5 would count, which happened this year on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 and the Pixel Watch.

This yearly release cadence is born out of making sure the latest Android features for “watches and hearables” are quickly incorporated. Meanwhile, Kilburn refers to “quarterly Wear updates to bring ’new experiences’ throughout the year.” This could possibly reference the Feature Drops that the Pixel Watch is getting, or the seasonal Android equivalents.

Meanwhile, Wear OS 3 means that watch manufacturers are responsible for over-the-air (OTA) updates instead of Google with Wear OS 2. We’ve already seen how version 3 requires OEMs to build their own companion apps rather than rely on Google’s. Speaking of the Wear OS phone app, it will remain for “Local Edition Wear OS 3 smartwatches in China.”

When asked about Google Fit in relation to Fitbit, Kilburn did not provide any insight about wider availability of the latter or what the former’s future will be, besides that it remains available.

For Wear OS 2 watch owners, Google reiterates that Wear OS 3 updates for devices powered by the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ are still expected later this year. A device reset will be required.

Lastly, Google said it is “absolutely committed” to Wear OS. Looking ahead, the team is working on improving battery life to allow for the creation of smaller devices.

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Abner Li

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