2019 has been a sad year for WearOS, as the platform witnessed the death of several apps over the past few months. Runkeeper is the latest company to announce the retirement of its application on WearOS devices, claiming the experience was buggy for most users.
Runkeeper is following in Google's footsteps, which ended support for its Nest and Hangouts apps earlier this year. In an apologetic email sent to users, the company is explaining it's "not able to offer [the best tracking experience] on Wear OS," and has therefore preferred to remove its app from the WearOS platform as of version 9.13, which should be released in the next few weeks.
In a follow-up message, the company is explaining it wasn't able to fix the "buggy experience," and preferred to focus its "limited resources" on other tasks. It also mentioned only a small amount of its community used the WearOS app, which eventually led it to make this decision.
Even though I can understand why Runkeeper would do that, I don't find their arguments very convincing. I bike almost every day and track my rides using the Strava WearOS app, and I've never had an issue with it. I've also used Map My Fitness on my watch, and it's worked pretty well. The two have different approaches, with Strava working independently on the smartwatch, while Map My Fitness would communicate with the Android app, which is further proof Runkeeper could have explored other options. I hope Google realizes users and developers are neglecting WearOS, and it's time to bring its platform up to speed before everybody forgets about it.