Like Android 13, several Wear OS 3 features have yet to launch as Google looks to continue the Pixel Watch’s momentum. Meanwhile, we’ve spotted other functionality that has yet to be announced for the platform.
Smart Unlock/Watch Unlock (Google)
At CES 2022 in January, Google announced that paired Wear OS smartwatches will let you “instantly unlock and access your Chromebook and Android phone or tablet.” It was framed as an expansion of Smart Lock between ChromeOS and Android phones rather than the existing Bluetooth-based Trusted devices feature.
When your watch is unlocked and brought near the paired mobile, you’ll get a “[phone] is unlocked by this watch” notification that features a “Lock again” button to cancel. On the phone’s lock screen (at the bottom), you’ll also get an “Unlocked by Watch” notification.
At the time, Google told us this capability was coming to “eligible Wear OS 3 smartwatches” with “coming months” being the timeline. It remains to be seen whether this feature is coming by year’s end (or if Wear OS 3 devices that aren’t the Pixel Watch will get it), but our APK Insight shows that work continues.
More Google Wallet features
At the moment, Google Wallet for Wear OS just lets you add credit/debit cards to make on-wrist payments. The full phone app supports airline boarding and transit passes, as well as loyalty cards.
Being able to access those things on your phone will be good for parity, and Google in July promised that more features would be coming to the Wear OS version by year’s end, while we’ve seen recent evidence of work on transit, event, and flight alerts.
Wear OS backups
We’ve also seen work on backups for watch faces, tiles, device settings, and app data. This should make the experience of setting up a new wearable less time-consuming.
Pixel Watch fall detection
The Pixel Watch is set to get fall detection this winter (summer in Australia), which suggests early 2023 availability:
When a hard fall is detected, your Google Pixel Watch will alert you and ask if you want to call emergency services.
Expanded Google Assistant and Fit availability
Wear OS 3 watches powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 do not yet support Google Assistant. Fossil said Google is working on it, but there’s no timeline yet.
Meanwhile, the status of Google Fit on Wear OS 3 is somewhat murky. It works for some on the Pixel Watch, but Fossil’s official line last month was that it “hasn’t been updated to support the latest Wear Health Services.”
Google News and updated Maps
On the apps front, Google News looks to be the next first-party Wear OS app with a tile that opens a fuller app that appears to show an article’s headline and cover image with the ability to open on your phone.
With the Galaxy Watch 5 announcement, Google said you’ll be able to use “Google Maps from your wrist without a smartphone connection.”
Outside of first-party features, apps, and services, Google continues its push for broader developer adoption as seen at the Android Dev Summit. With the Pixel Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, the ongoing Fossil update, and new devices that have yet to come (we’re still waiting for the first Snapdragon W5+ watches), Wear OS is seeing more momentum than it has in recent years, and Google looks keen to continue that.
What Wear OS 3 or Pixel Watch features do you want? Comment below!
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