Google announces a new version of Wear OS based on Android 11 with Snapdragon Wear 4100 support
Wear OS by Google, or Android Wear as some of us still keep calling it despite the rebranding years ago, does not see as much attention in the daily news, but the wearable OS is still alive and kicking. New watches from Suunto, OPPO, and Xiaomi, as well as the launch of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 SoC for wearables, have rekindled interest in Wear OS to a degree. Now, as part of its #11WeeksOfAndroid announcements, Google has announced a new version of Wear OS that is based on Android 11 and supports Snapdragon Wear 4100.
Wear OS based on Android 11
Google is not explicitly announcing “Wear OS on Android 11” on their blog post, but they do mention that several Android 11 features will be arriving on Wear OS. We asked Google for a confirmation on this, and a Google spokesperson has informed us that the new Wear OS version is based on Android 11. For reference, the current version of the wearable OS by Google is still based on Android 9 Pie, so this jump was needed.
The new Wear OS OTA update that will arrive in the fall brings along a fair few changes, which are summarized below:
- Faster access to info
- Simplified pairing process to make onboarding easier
- Improvements to the SysUI for more intuitive controls for managing different watch modes and workouts
- CPU Core improvements promising up to 20% speed improvements in startup times for apps
- Improved support for LTE
- Support for Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ platforms
In addition to these changes, a few more changes are coming, which we have already previewed in the past. For instance, Google has built a handwashing timer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging users to practice good hygiene.
The new update will also come along with the new Weather Tile design that was spotted earlier this month. This new design makes it easier to read information while on the move, and still retains access to an hourly breakdown of the day’s weather to help users plan ahead and provide information about the important weather alerts in the area.
Further, Google is also promising to make it easier for developers to build wearable apps. You can expect to see wearable-focused improvements and changes on Android Studio, Kotlin, and Jetpack libraries. Androidx.wear 1.1.0 Release Candidate build has also been released, making it easier to build and test wearable apps.
What are your thoughts on Wear OS based on Android 11? Let us know in the comments below!