While the next generation of Google Use OS smartwatch platform has been the focus of a lot of buzz lately, the company announced today that it is renewed Play Store for current Use OS. You can now install apps from your phone remotely, and the Play Store on the wrist also gets one Android 12 Material you-inspired design.
First, when you search for apps on your phone, you can now add “watch” or “watch face” to your keyword to get more relevant results. Pressing the drop-down arrow also shows which devices are eligible to receive the download. Compatible devices will be preselected, but this is a nice improvement, because it does not allow for confusion if an app downloaded to your phone also appears on your watch. This is a welcome update, considering how annoying it is to download apps directly to your wrist – an issue that has not yet been resolved some smartwatch.
But if you’re a unicorn who actually prefers direct downloads, Google has also updated what the Play Store looks like on your wrist. The new design puts information on maps that are easier to read and navigate on small screens. If you need to purchase in the app, Wear OS will transfer the transaction to your phone or enter a URL to do so in a web browser.
If you do not see the new experience on your Wear OS watch, you may have to wait a bit. Google said updates will roll out to the Google Play Store on Android and Wear OS “in the coming weeks.”
These are not major updates, but they are meaningful. Since Google and Samsung announced they work together on a new unified platform, it has been an open question about what it means for current Wear OS users. Right now it is unclear whether existing watches will be compatible with the new platform. (Fossil has already clarified that their will not, but other Wear OS watch manufacturers’ plans is still up in the airUnderstandably, Google has not said much about timelines either, given how fragmented the space is. Improving the app download experience at least indicates that Google has not thrown the current Wear OS aside.
It means something. Although the new Unified Wear is a resounding success, transition periods are never easy. There will undoubtedly be some hiccups along the way, and while you can always count on first-time users getting drunk Leroy Jenkins, it’s fair to assume that most people will want to wait until the dust settles a bit. In addition, anyone who has recently purchased a Wear OS smartwatch should drop that device right away. These people deserve a Wear OS that stays functional until they are ready to switch – and this is an encouraging sign that Google has taken it into account.
We do not know exactly when the new Wear OS will come into operation, but it is safe to assume that the end of August may be our first glimpse based on when the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is rumored to start. However, it will run a version of Wear OS with Samsung’s OneUI Watch experience layered on top. We have to wait for another Wear OS manufacturer launches next generation devices to see what the pure Wear experience will be. In any case, after many years of limbo, it’s refreshing to see Android smartwatches finally get some love.