Google Fit and new notifications arrive in much-needed Wear OS update

Here's what Google's revamped Wear OS looks like, which watches will be updated

Google’s Wear OS is evolving. The wearable device operating system has been crying out for an overhaul for sometime, and following the release of a revitalized Google Fit app, Wear OS is also receiving a small but meaningful update.

At the time of writing we have not tried it out, and there are a few unanswered questions over how the alterations will work at this point. Once we’ve got some clarification, we’ll update here; but in the meantime here’s what’s new.

Easier, faster access

google wear os ifa 2018 update news

Perhaps most welcome of all among the changes is a new notification system, which Google says makes it easier to browse, dismiss, or interact with incoming alerts. Swipe up in the new notification stream to show all your notifications in one go, with quick replies available with a tap, including the pre-made smart replies. We’re interested to see how this works, as it doesn’t sound drastically different to Wear OS’s current way of delivering notifications, but in Google’s screenshots and animations it looks a lot neater and more concise.

A downward swipe displays shortcuts to often used features including Google Pay and Find my Phone, although it’s not clear whether these can be manually added, are fixed shortcuts, or generated by usage. Google Assistant is closer to hand in the updated Wear OS. Swipe right to see contextual alerts, such as flight status and hotel details, and smart suggestions will also arrive here with updates related to these situations, like weather and directions. The Assistant will also learn your behavior and provide helpful daily reminders, plus suggest features you’ve never used.

Following on from the new Google Fit app, Wear OS also incorporates changes to Fit, which is now integrated as a swipe in from the left. You can see current activity levels based on Move Minutes and Heart Points, and it’s also possible to start a new workout from this screen too. In the screenshots, the circular progress dials seen in the new Google Fit app appear on the watch, in a similar fashion to Apple’s Activity rings on the Apple Watch.

Google plans to send the new Wear OS version out over the coming month, but has not given a precise date, and also warned that features will vary depending on not only the watch, but also on the phone’s operating system. This suggests some older versions of Android may not run all the features we’ve described. An update of Wear OS comes at an interesting time, as rumors swirl about a Pixel smartwatch, and the impending arrival of a new Qualcomm chip designed for wearables, replacing the aging Snapdragon Wear 2100.

Watches that won’t get the update

Almost all Wear OS watches will get the update, but there are five that wont. It’s based on the watches that received Android Wear 2.0 and the ones that didn’t. Here’s a list of the watches that won’t get the redesign, according to 9to5Google:

  • LG G Watch
  • Samsung Gear Live
  • Moto 360 (2014)
  • Sony Smartwatch 3
  • Asus ZenWatch (1st-gen)

Update: We’ve added news of the five watches that won’t get the update to the new Wear OS.


Dozens of bite-sized features add up to a feast in Android 9.0 Pie

Google’s latest version of Android is here, and it’s called Android 9 Pie. We’ve been using it for the past few months on a Google Pixel to see how this flavor stacks up.

Google’s Family Link expands globally, now works on more devices

Google's Family Link app makes it easier for parents to keep track of their kids' smartphone usage. They can restrict them from downloading apps, see which services they use the most, and more. Here's everything you need to know.

The Google Pixel 3 smartphone may arrive dressed in pink

Forget the Pixel 2: Google will announce its latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, on October 9 in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Smart Home

OK, Google, what can you do? Tips and tricks for the Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Product Review

With more screen and 1 world-first feature, the Apple Watch still rules the wrist

Apple already ruled the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch Series 3, but the Series 4 elevates it to new levels with more screen, a sleeker design, and even an world-first electrocardiogram app that lets you keep tabs on your ticker.

The best Apple Watch deals for September 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Polar improves heart rate tracking with its new Vantage wearables

Polar launched its latest lineup of devices. Known as the Polar Vantage V and the Polar Vantage M, both provide a new optical heart rate sensor, additional tracking metrics, and more.

Take your workout up a notch with two new fitness watches from Polar

The new Polar Vantage V and M fitness watches include improved heart rate tracking, better battery life, onboard virtual coaching, and connectivity to allow sharing workouts through social media.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for September 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Emerging Tech

Air Force goes all James Bond with tiny microphone that attaches to teeth

Like something out of Mission: Impossible, members of the U.S. Air Force will soon be able to communicate using a next-generation miniaturized microphone system that clips to their back teeth.

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch Series 4 are officially live

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.

Skagen’s new Falster 2 smartwatch is now available for purchase

In August, Skagen announced the launch of its new smartwatch to add to its lineup, and it's called the Falster 2. The device features a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more. It's also now available for purchase.
Emerging Tech

Can a bracelet really let you control your dreams?

Like many tech products that emerge on crowdfunding platforms, Instadreamer is at once imaginative, intriguing, and somewhat suspect. The bracelet’s creators say their device will let users “take control of their dreams” by inducing…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-balancing skates, tiny tripods, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!