Owners of a Wear OS 2 smartwatch will need to consider upgrading soon because support for the Google Assistant app is officially ending on August 31.
9to5Google initially broke this story when it discovered a string of code in a recent update for the Wear OS companion app, hinting at the impending shutdown. Since then, Google itself as well as other brands have begun notifying users of older wearables. Industry insider Mishaal Rahman posted one of these announcements from his Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 on his X (or Twitter, if you prefer) account. The text recommends purchasing a “newer smartwatch that supports Google Assistant and runs Wear OS 3 or later.”
Google is announcing that Assistant will soon no longer support smartwatches running Wear OS 2. You'll need to upgrade to a newer watch that runs Wear OS 3 (and that supports Google Assistant).I just got this notification on my TicWatch Pro 3 - anyone else also get this? pic.twitter.com/NqwddYY2oaAugust 16, 2023
As pointed out in their report, 9to5Google says wearables running Wear OS 3 will gain access to the revamped Google Assistant which first came out on the Galaxy Watch 4. The upgrade introduces a streamlined user interface plus voice commands for certain actions like setting an alarm.
It’s bad enough that people are essentially being forced to buy another device if they want to have Google Assistant. What makes this situation particularly egregious is the fact that the transition between Wear OS 2 and Wear OS 3 has been a messy one, to say the least. Not every eligible device can run the new system and the ones that can may not support the updated Assistant app.
Case in point: Mobvoi. The smartwatch company published a statement back in May, apologizing to users of certain models, like the TicWatch Pro 3, for the lack of Wear OS 3 support. To this day, the devices mentioned still don’t run Wear OS 3 although there was recently a closed beta very recently. You could buy the TicWatch Pro 5, which does run the more recent software, but you can’t use Google Assistant. It’s not supported.
This problem is seen elsewhere too. The Fitbit Versa 4 can’t use Assistant even though it was possible on the older Versa 3. It’s a really confusing and frustrating situation. Sure, you can buy the new Pixel Watch. Doing so solves all your problems, but what if you don’t want or like the Pixel Watch? What if you want your preferred brand, but your favorite can’t operate the software? You’re out of luck.
Left in the dark
Granted, changing operating systems isn’t easy, but it’s been two years since the launch of Wear OS 3. You’d think Google would have the process down by now or offer all the necessary help. What makes matters even worse is that Wear OS 4 is on the horizon, meaning the tech giant may be too busy handling the rollout of the new system to bother with updating the old.
It’s unknown if Google plans on offering help to other smartwatch companies so they can catch up or roll out patches to fix any gaps. According to The Verge, the tech giant “declined to share any future plans” past August 31. Hopefully, users and third-party brands aren’t left in the dark.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.