Wear OS 4 goes stable, it's coming to original Pixel Watches later this year

Peter, 05 October 2023

The Pixel Watch 2 was announced this week and it brings with it the new Wear OS 4. There should be an asterisk next to “new” – we’ve already seen Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch6 series, though that was the heavily customized Samsung interpretation of the new OS.

Anyway, the Watch 2 will run the new OS from the get go, original Pixel Watches will receive it as an update later this year. In the meantime, developers can use Galaxy Watches to test their apps.

One thing they might want to try out is the Watch Face Format – this was co-developed with Samsung and let’s developers define the appearance and behavior of watch faces in XML. There is no executable code involved, Wear OS will handle rendering the watch face instead. This means that devs don’t have to worry about code optimizations and battery performance.

Watch faces created using the Watch Face Format Watch faces created using the Watch Face Format

Wear OS 4 also brings version 1.2 of the Jetpack Tiles library, which includes new animation features and data bindings – a simple way to show up-to-date data in your app (e.g. the number of steps taken today that automatically updates).

Switching to new hardware is easier with cloud backup and restore. For example, when upgrading from a Pixel Watch to a Pixel Watch 2, you will be able to pick which apps and files should be transferred. Or if you’re upgrading to a new phone instead, you can now transfer the watch without having to do a factory reset.

Transferring watch data to a new phone is much simpler now Transferring watch data to a new phone is much simpler now

Note that Wear OS 4 is based on Android 13 whereas Wear OS 3.5 was based on Android 11. There have been a couple of major changes since then (e.g. no more 32-bit support), so devs should ensure that their apps work on the new OS.

They can do that with the Wear OS 4 emulator, by using the new Pixel Watch 2 (and soon the original Pixel Watch) as well as other v4-compatible watches.



Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 06 Oct 2023
  • 2F6

My 2+ year old Galaxy Watch4 has Wear OS 4 and the Pixel Watch will get it later this year? LOL.

  • scorpio
  • 06 Oct 2023
  • PPS

I have just checked my Samsung Watch 5 and it is Wear OS version 4.0. The watch received an update last week and perhaps this was the update. Anyway it is all working perfectly.

  • yodabr83
  • 05 Oct 2023
  • 6v0

I am very disappointed with Google's updates, before we received them in advance before any other company, now, in addition to being late, other companies launch them for their devices. Unfortunately, Pixel Watch should have received the update...

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