Google’s I/O developer conference for 2021 starts today and the company is announcing improvements coming to Android 12, enhancements that relate to safety and privacy, and updates to Workspace that improve collaboration. However, another surprise came in the way of an update for Wear OS, with the company announcing that it is “building a unified platform” by partnering with Samsung to combine the “best of the two operating systems” – Tizen and Wear OS.
The company aims to focus on three main objectives, it says, which include improving the performance of the OS – bringing 30% faster app launches –, enhancing battery life, and attracting more developers to the wearable platform. The firm says that the battery improvements are brought by using low-powered cores in the latest chipsets to perform tasks like continuous heart rate tracking.
The revamp of the OS also brings new user experiences, such as new navigation techniques to quickly switch to the previous app, new tiles to customize the carousel on the home screen, and first-party app experiences such as updated Pay, YouTube Music, and Maps apps. The company is also inviting developers to leverage the Tiles API to bring more options to users. This, along with Samsung’s watch face editor tools bring new personalization capabilities to Wear OS devices, the firm adds.
Another significant announcement came from Fitbit, which announced that it will be bringing some of its fitness tracking capabilities to Wear OS. This was to be expected considering that the search giant completed the acquisition of Fitbit earlier this year. However, not much was shared in the way of what features will be making it to Google’s platform.
Google says that “all the updates” will begin rolling out to users later this fall. The company will also be sharing more with developers about the new tools to develop for the platform. In all, the partnership with Samsung might bring a much-needed boost for the Mountain View giant’s wearable platform and offerings.