Google neglects Wear OS and is missing a golden opportunity in smartwatches

The famous “OK Google” has not worked for months for multiple users in the latest revision of Wear OS, and although Google engineers are aware of the problem, there is no solution to the problem at the moment. If you’ve been trying to talk to your smartwatch lately and it ignores you, you’re not alone.

Forums like Reddit have raised the alarm and finally caused the search giant to react, but the general feeling in many areas seems to be the same: Google does not pamper Wear OS or the world of wearables , something curious considering account that it is one of the most popular (and profitable) segments in recent years.

The hardware goes on one side, the software on another very different

In The Verge they collected the recent statements of those responsible for Google, which indicated that they are “aware of the problems that some users have encountered.”

There is no estimated date of when a solution will be offered, but the first complaints appeared in November and more than four months later, things remain the same . In Xataka we have contacted those responsible for Google to try to clarify this situation further, and we will expand this information if we receive relevant data.

This is the latest demonstration that Google is not paying the attention many would want to Wear OS. The wearable operating system seems to be the ugly duckling of this giant’s offering , which certainly pays a lot of attention to Android and has recently shown its commitment to Android TV and Google TV .

It doesn’t seem to be spoiling Wear OS as much, an operating system whose last major update came in 2017 . There have been minor updates (with limited scope), name changes (Android Wear gave way to the current Wear OS in March 2018) and some news have also arrived in various sections, but instead of improving things, there have been applications such as Google Fit that it has lost one of its most differentiating characteristics , the counting of series and repetitions .

It doesn’t help either that the hardware is also going at an erratic pace . The Snapdragon 4100+ processors appeared in June 2020, but few have been the models that integrate them, and not even the most expensive ones seem to pay attention to that section: the Montblanc Summit lite of 800 euros prove it, and they continue to integrate the already veterans. Snapdragon 3100. The 5,100 Euro Hublot Big Bang E , by the way, boasts of being built in titanium, but it also uses that old SoC.

Missed opportunities

If it all sounds like missed opportunities, it is because it is. Google has totally neglected a market that does not stop growing , and instead of pampering its platform and making it almost essential for other manufacturers as it happens with Android on mobile phones, it has neglected a segment that has ended up diversifying in a strange way.

The latest IDC data for Q3 2020 leaves a pretty clear picture of what’s going on. Apple clearly dominates the market and had a 32.2% market share in that period . Only Xiaomi comes a little closer with 14.5%, while Samsung and Huawei struggle to reach a 10% share.

The growth of the latter is remarkable, but rather than looking at manufacturers we should look at platforms : Xiaomi ignores Wear OS as shown by its recent Mi Watch , Huawei boasts an increasingly open LiteOS (especially when its relationships with Google are more and more broken ) and Samsung, a strong ally of Google in mobile phones, has in Tizen a fantastic rival for Wear OS and even for watchOS.

Only OnePlus seems to make the odd nod to the Google platform together with Oppo, which has just launched a model with WearOS that is great but is once again out of step in terms of its hardware: we return to the Snapdragon Wear 3100, a SoC that is almost it is ashamed of its 28 nm lithography that pales in comparison to the 7 nm of the Apple S6 built into the latest Apple Watch Series 6. So there is no one to compete.

All is not lost, however. The rumors that point to a Google that is developing its own SoCs for the Pixels and ChromeBooks are promising and could end up being used to develop SoCs for smart watches as well.

Wearable devices comparison

Even so, this delay in the hardware platform must also be accompanied by clear improvements in the software. Wear OS has exceptional potential , but time and time again we come across a Google that for some strange reason doesn’t seem to have much interest in this platform.

What a shame.

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