What Wear OS 3 and Pixel Watch features have yet to launch
Like Android 13, several Wear OS 3 features have yet to launch as Google looks to continue its momentum for the Pixel Watch. In the meantime, we have discovered other functionality that has not yet been 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 extension of Smart Lock between ChromeOS and Android phones in place of the existing Bluetooth-based Trusted Device feature.
When your watch is unlocked and brought near the paired mobile, you will get a “[phone] is unlocked by this clock” notification which has a “Relock” button to cancel. On the phone’s lock screen (bottom) you also get an “Unlocked by Watch” notification.
At the time, Google told us that this capability was coming to “eligible Wear OS 3 smartwatches” with “coming months” as the timeline. It remains to be seen if this feature will arrive by the end of the year (or if Wear OS 3 devices that aren’t Pixel Watch will get it), but our APK insights show that work continues.
More Google Wallet features
Currently, Google Wallet for Wear OS only lets you add credit/debit cards to make payments on your wrist. The full phone app supports airline boarding and transit passes, as well as loyalty cards.
Being able to access these things on your phone will be good for parity, and Google promised in July that more features would be coming to the Wear OS version by the end of the year, while we’ve seen recent evidence of work on transport, events and flight alerts.
Use OS backups
We’ve also seen work with backing up watch faces, tiles, device settings and app data. This should make the experience of setting up a new wearable less time-consuming.
Pixel Watch drop detection
The Pixel Watch is set to receive fall detection this winter (summer in Australia), suggesting availability in early 2023:
When a hard fall is detected, Google Pixel Watch will notify you and ask if you want to call the emergency services.
Expanded availability for Google Assistant and Fit
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 unclear. It works for some on the Pixel Watch, but Fossil’s official line last month was that it “has not been updated to support the latest Wear Health Services.”
Google News and updated maps
On the app front, Google News appears to be the next first-party Wear OS app with a tile that opens a fuller app that appears to display an article’s headline and cover image with the option 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.”
Beyond first-party features, apps and services, Google continues to 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 yet to arrive (we’re still waiting for the first Snapdragon W5+ watches), Wear OS is seeing more momentum than it has in recent years, and Google is looking to continue it.
What Wear OS 3 or Pixel Watch features do you want? Comment below!
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