We're all desperately looking forward to the upcoming (white boy?) summer, and Google has just given Wear OS a new feature that will help you stay a little bit safer as you chase the sun. The platform's official Weather app will now show the UV index for your location.
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Google's Wear OS is not in the best state right now, but it's serviceable if you want a smartwatch that integrates deeply with your phone. When you decide to make do with Wear OS, Fossil is usually there to offer an array of acceptable devices. Over a year ago, we reviewed the Fossil Gen 5 and it was one of the best Wear OS smartwatches at the time. Since then, very little has happened in the Wear OS world. That's why the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is exciting: it's one of the few LTE-enabled Wear OS devices on the market, and LTE on watches can be a real game-changer, in my experience.
A little while back the signature "hey Google" Assistant commands stopped working on Wear OS watches. Well, that's not completely true: a few months ago it stopped working, and it took that long for enough people to notice that Google said it would do something about it. Based on a few user tests, that appears to be resolved, at least for some devices.
The Wear OS space has reached such depths that the TicWatch Pro 3 is one of the only models we'd recommend buying right now. To capitalize on its good reputation, Mobvoi is releasing a new Pro model. Somewhat confusingly, though, the new TicWatch Pro S is an updated TicWatch Pro 2020 positioned as a sports watch.
If you're looking to get a smartwatch for your Android phone, you'll be hard-pressed to find one better than what Samsung has to offer, including the Watch3 and the Watch Active2. If you're not in a hurry, you may want to hold out for one of the successors to these watches as they are apparently not too far out.
Wear OS has frequently been subjected to criticism, and the stagnation in development also doesn't help its cause. What further seems to prove how little Google cares about the platform is that "hey Google" hotword detection has been broken on Wear OS for months. The issue has officially been acknowledged only now, and Google says that a fix is on the way.
Samsung stopped making Android smartwatches a while ago, the last one being the Gear Live announced in 2014 — back when Wear OS was called Android Wear. It then turned towards its in-house Tizen OS and hasn't looked back since. However, this may be changing as the next smartwatches from the South Korean company are rumored to run either Google's Wear OS or its own UI based on Android.
According to an email Google is sending out to Wear OS developers, sideloading apps that aren't available on the Play Store is about to get a lot more complicated starting March 10. You'll no longer be able to sideload apps from your phone via the Play Store -> Apps on your phone section on watches, making it next to impossible to add unapproved apps to your watch without turning to tools meant for developers, like the Android Debug Bridge (ADB).
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is still the only Wear OS watch with Qualcomm's 4100 chip, and it just picked up a new update. Rolling out now, the new firmware delivers a handful of improvements to things like touch screen response, better pairing speed, and faster tilt-to-wake, plus a handful of new features for the watch's unique power-saving "essential" mode.