The Google Pixel Watch isn’t the magic bullet that Wear OS has been waiting for


Fossil Gen 5E and Samsung Galaxy Watch ActiveSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

I currently wear a Fossil Gen 5E on my wrist and while it’s fine, I long for my Galaxy Watch Active. In fact, I’d be wearing the Watch Active now, even though it’s two years older than the Fossil Gen 5e, but my dad’s Fitbit broke so I’ll let him test it before we buy him something new.

Wear OS has the best notifications on your wrist, but that alone can’t help save it from the sluggishness of opening apps and updating tiles. Wear OS urgently needs tweaking and tweaking to do it justice work betterand I firmly believe that Google will not do this on its own. We know OnePlus tried to get Wear OS to work for the OnePlus Watch, but that ultimately failed and OnePlus had to do it on its own.

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Given that the Google hardware department is essentially cursed when it comes to their software – fatal bugs have affected nearly every generation of pixels, as well as the eight-month-old Chromecast with Google TV – I’m not sure why we got the systemic issues from Keeping Wear OS important is magically remedied by the recent leaked Pixel Watch.

If anyone is going to help Google finally take care of Wear OS, it won’t be Google itself. It will be a partner like Samsung.

Google Pixel Watch Leak

Source: Jon Prosser

Yes, I know the Google Pixel software is considered by many to be the “real” version of Android, but Samsung’s One UI is the more sophisticated and composite version of Android that manufacturers are emulating. With OnePlus OxygenOS 11, and now even Google itself, incorporating some of the ideas from One UI into Android 12, there is no denying that Samsung knows how to design a user-friendly experience tailored to users’ needs and expectations.

Samsung is a leader in tablets and leaflets. Why not also under Wear OS?

Samsung was also a leader in leaflets, working with Google to improve app compatibility and shape the way Android handles folding phones. And let’s not forget the tablets where Samsung literally tops the table of the best Android tablets and where the Dex desktop-like mode is a step ahead of competitors like the Lenovo P11 Pro.

Samsung went to Tizen after the Samsung Gear Live, one of the first Android Wear watches but far from the last disappointing Android watch. In 2014 I was able to understand how to drop Android Wear because it took a lot of work and Samsung had a system that can now deliver a rewarding experience. In addition, Samsung was able to present Tizen as a working platform.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Android Central

Well times have changed and Samsung has hit a wall with its watches. Samsung figured out how to get the battery life where they want it. Samsung Health is better than Google Fit – not quite as good as Fitbit, but a step further than Google Fit – and Samsung absolutely has it nailed Smartwatch design. What exactly is the problem? App support.

There may be a small selection of apps you can download for a Galaxy Watch, but that number more triples if you search for Wear OS apps on Google Play. More importantly, a Galaxy Watch does not contain Google services. You got stuck with Bixby through Google Assistant for voice searches and dictated messages. There is no integration for services like Google Pay, Google Keep or Google Maps. Since this is not moderated via Google Play, but via the Galaxy Apps, using a Galaxy Watch on any non-Samsung cell phone – such as the Pixel 3a – is child’s play XL my father tests my Galaxy Watch Active on.

WADD Secundus Watch Active dial

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central The only “app” I’ll miss from Tizen: this Star Trek-inspired watch face.

Switching back to Wear OS could solve problems with Samsung’s app support, and Samsung has enough engineers and determination to actually tame the Wear OS performance issues where OnePlus failed. Google would reintroduce some of the best Android smartwatches back into the Wear OS, and the fixes and tweaks Samsung is making for Wear OS could improve the performance of any number of current or future Wear OS watches, which we desperately need when Wear OS is supposed to do more than just stagnate in darkness.

It’s still a huge challenge for these two companies to bury their portable hatchets and get together, but given the month-long leaks that strongly hinted at this, I don’t think I’m wrong to dream about it. A Galaxy Watch Active with Wear OS could be the best Wear OS watch ever, because if Samsung and Google can put their differences aside and work together, they can move mountains.

Galaxy and Apple Watch

Source: Android Central

Given that both Tizen and Wear OS are being peeled off by each new generation of Apple Watch, it’s time these two titans join forces and provide a real competitor. Google can finally bring us the Pixel watch we’ve asked for for years – and maybe it’s a pretty good watch – but Wear OS is still way too broken to produce a really great watch.

I’m waiting for August and the next Galaxy Watch Active.

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