As usual, Apple’s recent mega-event created quite a stir across the entire tech industry and beyond. One little-talked-about segment of the keynote looked at what Apple is doing with its subscription-based fitness service that builds upon and supplements its blockbusting timepiece. Many of the new Fitness+ features that Apple demonstrated on stage truly show the power of deep integration across platforms — and, at the same time, hold a mirror up to Google and its comparatively feeble efforts in the fitness space.
Google is recommitting itself to making Wear OS better than it's ever been, all powered by a new partnership with Samsung. Of course, without some quality third-party apps and services, it doesn't matter how capable the operating system is — it's doomed to fail from the start. With that in mind, Google has released some new quality requirements for apps on Wear OS 3.
It's hard to believe with Apple now being the dominant force in the wearable market, but Google and Qualcomm actually introduced their smartwatches earlier. Unfortunately, we all know how Wear OS (or back then, Android Wear) quickly got lapped by Apple's and Samsung's offers, regarding both hardware and software. While Google has given up on Wear OS as we know it and now partners with Samsung for upcoming versions, Qualcomm ist still basically the only manufacturer providing the underlying chipsets for smartwatches not made by Samsung. And according to an investigation conducted by WinFuture, we might soon be in for a brand-new chipset.
For a second there, it looked like Google was just about done with Wear OS. That was until the roadmap started unfolding with plans for, among other things, a new YouTube Music app and, later on, the big reveal of new Samsung smartwatches running the platform. Today, the plot has finally culminated with the soft launch of the new YouTube Music for the Galaxy Watch4 series.
Fitbit has promised to eventually make the switch to Wear OS 3 sometime in the future, but for now, it's still working to make the best fitness trackers available today. The Charge series is one of the company's longest-running lineups of wearables, with each generation becoming more advanced than the last. Today, Fitbit announced the Charge 5 as its newest tracker, complete with a full-color display and more advanced sensors than ever before.
Although Fitbit has yet to pivot to Wear OS 3, its current lineup of wearables are still outstanding fitness trackers in their own right. The Sense smartwatch is its most advanced gadget yet, with superb battery life and Google Assistant built right in. If you've been waiting for a great deal to pick one up, today's the day. You can grab a Fitbit Sense from Amazon for just $220.
If you want a smartwatch to pair with your Android phone, you've got a lot of options. There are Wear OS watches from a billion different manufacturers, plus Fitbits, Samsung's Galaxy Watch devices, and plenty more niche picks. This month, OnePlus tossed its hat in the ring with the creatively named OnePlus Watch. For $159, it offers quality hardware and great battery life — but crappy custom software makes using it a miserable experience.
At a digital Mobile World Congress event today, Samsung is showing off its designs for a new generation of Galaxy wearables. But it's sticking to the One UI software side of things, declining to debut new wearable hardware, or even talk very much about that new combined Wear OS platform that it will be running on. It's a bit of a downer after those recent leaks of a next-gen Galaxy Watch 4 from last week.