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Google Wear OS merges with Samsung Tizen

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Google has announced one of its biggest updates to its wearable platform, Wear OS. Yesterday at Google IO, it rebranded its operating system to Wear, and has focused its development in three areas: building a unified platform with Samsung, delivering a new consumer experience, and providing updates to Google wearable apps.

Samsung and Google have a long history of collaboration, and as such, it will be bringing the best of Wear and Tizen (Samsung’s smartwatch OS) into a single, unified platform. By working together, it can achieve faster performance, longer battery life, and a larger smartwatch app library – all of which Samsung smartwatches already enjoy.

For performance, Google says its teams collaborated and made apps start up to 30% faster on the latest chipsets with smooth user interface animations and motion. To achieve longer battery life, Wear developers have worked to optimise the lower layers of the operating system – taking advantage of low-power hardware cores to enable better battery life. That includes new optimisations like the ability to run the heart rate sensor continuously during the day, track sleep overnight, and still have battery for the next day.

This isn’t just for Google and Samsung. Other device makers will be able to add a customised user experience on top of the platform, and developers will be able to use the Android tools they already know to build for one platform and ecosystem.

Google provided the following information on new features:

A new consumer experience

Animation shows how a double press on the watch’s side button enables switching to a recent app.

From anywhere in the watch, users can now access shortcuts to important functions, like switching to your previous app. 

Animation demonstrates how to swipe to see new Tiles.

There are more ways to customise the home screen carousel with Tiles from your favourite apps like Calm, Sleep Cycle and Flo. Users can choose what information they want at a glance, and which actions they want to have with a swipe. 

The best of Google on your wrist

Google Maps and Google Assistant are being redesigned and improved. Google Pay will also be redesigned and add support for 26 new countries, beyond the 11 countries currently available. YouTube Music will also arrive on Wear later this year, equipped with features like smart downloads for subscribers. 

Health and fitness tracking is essential for wearables. With the latest Wear update, Google also welcomes Fitbit’s many years of health expertise to the experience. The best of Fitbit, including features like tracking your health progress throughout one’s day and on-wrist goal celebrations, can motivate users on their journey to better health.

More and better apps

App logos surround a Google Play logo placed in a watch frame.

It has also made it possible for our developer community to build great apps (including new Tiles) for the platform, and reach millions of consumers all over the world through the Google Play Store.    

New tools, like a Tiles API and a watch face design editor built by Samsung, make it a faster to develop new experiences on wearables. New and rebuilt apps from developers like Strava, Adidas Running, and Bitmoji are coming to the platform.

These updates will begin rolling out later this year.  From a unified platform with Samsung, to a new consumer experience, and a world-class fitness service from Fitbit, this is a new era for Google’s wearable ecosystem.

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