The 5 best smartwatches (2021): Apple Watch, Samsung, Wear OS

In May, Google announced that it would launch a new version of its portable operating system, which is used by a host of tech and fashion brands, including Mobvoi and Tthe Fossil group. It’s called Wear OS 3, and it is co-developed by Google, Samsung and Fitbit (the latter is now owned by Google). This new version is expected to offer better performance, longer battery life and more third-party and proprietary apps, along with robust health and fitness features.

The first Wear OS 3 smartwatch will come from Samsung and will likely launch in August. Unfortunately, this means that current Samsung smartwatches, like the Galaxy Watch3 above, not get the update because they are running another operating system. Google has also shared that only a few smartwatches are eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3: Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 (GPS and LTE) and TicWatch E3. This implies that the new version requires Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, as these are the only smartwatches on the market to use it. The Fossil Group smartwatches launched later this year will also have the option of upgrades, which means they’ll run on the same chip as well.

Unfortunately, things are grim even though you have the option to upgrade. Google says the upgrade won’t be available until mid-2022 and will require a factory reset. Worse yet, you won’t get the full functionality of Wear OS 3 as the platform is designed for a brand new chipset. (Google did not specify exactly whose chips it’s designed for.) So for now you have to wait for the launch of new smartwatches with the new version.

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