Google, Samsung, and Fitbit team up to save Wear OS

Logos for Google's Wear OS.

Enlarge / Wear OS: It’s coming back. (credit: Google)

Wear OS has been neglected for far too long. Google has been dead in the smartwatch space, and Samsung can’t get a decent app ecosystem together with its smartwatches based on Tizen. The two companies, along with Fitbit (which was recently acquired by Google), are teaming up. Google says it is building “a unified platform, jointly with Samsung” that will combine “the best of Wear OS and Tizen.” The new platform has been quietly renamed “Wear,” dropping the “OS” suffix.

This announcement was just a tease, with no screenshots of the new OS other than a look at a few things made with the existing Wear OS “Tiles” API. So it’s not clear what we’re getting here. We do have some quotes, though. Executives from Google, Samsung, and Fitbit commandeered the stream to talk about their parts in all of this.

Samsung says it is bringing the best of Tizen (is there a best of Tizen?), but really what we’re interested in—as usual—is the company’s hardware. Samsung says the next version of Wear will run on “the next Samsung Galaxy Watch,” presumably the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung will also be bringing its Exynos system on a chip along for the ride, which means Wear OS will finally break free of Qualcomm’s halfhearted wearables support. Samsung isn’t great at competing with Qualcomm when it comes to smartphone SoCs, but it does turn in competent smartwatch SoCs that improve year over year, which is more than Qualcomm has been willing to dedicate to wearables.