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Google’s Wear smartwatch software update list is short, and the wait is long

If you’re waiting for news on when, or if, your Wear OS smartwatch will receive an update to the new version of the software announced during Google I/O, there’s some good and bad news ahead. Google has listed the smartwatches eligible for an upgrade, and the timeframe expected, but neither are likely to be what smartwatch owners were hoping for.

The new version of Wear OS, which Google refers to as Wear OS 3 but had introduced it as Wear before, will eventually arrive on the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 and its 4G/LTE connected counterpart, and the TicWatch E3, plus unannounced models from Fossil and Mobvoi expected later in 2021. It won’t be arriving very quickly either; as Google states that it “expects our partners to be able to roll out the system update starting in mid to second half of 2022.”

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When the update does arrive it’s so comprehensive that the smartwatch will be reset to factory settings during the process, and Google states it will make the update an option. If you don’t want to reset your watch, then you don’t have to update to Wear OS 3. Google quietly announced the details regarding the new software on its Wear OS community help page.

The news doesn’t quite fit with the statement released by Qualcomm concerning which smartwatches could receive an update. It said Wear OS 3 is supported by smartwatches with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and Snapdragon 4100 processors, but Google’s list only features the two Snapdragon 4100 models available now, with no mention of the dozens of current Snapdragon Wear 3100 models.

If you own a Ticwatch Pro 3 or Ticwatch E3, it will be at least a year old by the time the software arrives (at the earliest). Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Watch 4 at its August 11 Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, and it will use the new Wear platform with Samsung’s One UI over the top, making a 12-month wait at the minimum for an update to arrive on a watch you can already buy a disappointment.

While confirmation of an update is good news, the small selection of compatible models and the long wait before it arrives is not. If you’re considering buying a new Android smartwatch, it may be worth waiting to buy a model with the latest software onboard already.

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