Google today announced some new features for Wear OS that we can expect from the next wireless update, which is expected to be available this fall.
According to Google, the focus here is on the basics. This includes, for example, improved performance, for example a speed improvement of up to 20% for the start times of apps.
The company also said it would improve the pairing process and that we'll see improvements to the user interface with "more intuitive controls for managing different monitoring modes and workouts." How exactly this will look is not clear, however, as Google has not given details of the changes.
One feature that Google talked about is a new hand washing timer that is being released in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike Apple's automatic hand-washing timer in watchOS, the Google feature isn't hands-free and you have to tap a special tile to trigger it. Unfortunately, users are less likely to actually use them regularly (but you're already singing Happy Birthday twice, you wash your hands anyway, right?).
Wear OS also brings a new weather experience that is easier to read on the go, has an hourly forecast, and provides access to local weather alerts.
The Wear OS team notes that they also plan to bring "the best of Android 11" to wearables. For developers, this mainly means that they can use the latest Android developer tools to build their Wear OS apps. What exactly it means for users remains to be seen.
While we're still waiting for Google to release our own watch, the company discovered today that a number of new watch manufacturers have recently signed up with Wear OS, including Oppo, Suunto and Xiaomi.