Google promises yearly OS updates for Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch5 series with Wear OS commitment
Yesterday, we reported that Google would provide software updates for the Pixel Watch 'until at least October 2025', a year shy of the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro. Subsequently, Google has confirmed to Wired that Wear OS users should now expect a major OS update per year, bringing Wear OS in line with Android and competitors like Apple Watch Series smartwatches.
Speaking to Wired, Björn Kilburn, Director of Product Management for Google Wear OS, stated the following:
Our goal is, from a platform perspective, for us to release a new version of Wear generally every year in a similar fashion to mobile, partly because we need to support mobile. If new functionalities added in Android are critical for watches and wearables, then we've got to find a way to get it into the watch.
Unfortunately, this shift in approach coincides with Google handing responsibility to OEMs to deliver OS updates. As such, it seems that Google is opening WearOS to the same fragmentation that already exists on Android smartphones. For example, the Pixel Watch will only receive three OS updates, calculated from its launch on Wear OS 3.5. By contrast, Samsung will afford an extra year of updates to the Galaxy Watch5 series.
In other words, support for the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic will cease on the same Wear OS version as the Pixel Watch. Additionally, it remains to be seen how or who will deliver Wear OS for the likes of the Fossil Gen 6 and the TicWatch Pro 3 series. Hopefully, the new update policy will urge OEMs to remain competitive by releasing OS updates quickly, unlike Google over the last few years.