Wear OS 3 is the new Google-Samsung OS, and the TicWatch 3 gets it first in 2022

Ticwatch 3 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

We’ve been extremely curious what will come out of the Google and Samsung smartwatch operating system collaboration since it was announced at Google IO 2021. Most of its features are still in the dark, but at last, we have a name: the OS will be called...Wear OS 3.

Yes, Google has followed up its current software, Wear OS 2, with the logical but very underwhelmingly-named Wear OS 3. The official blog post announcing the move didn’t have much else to share about what’s coming in the ‘new unified platform,’ as Google previously called the synthesized operating system. But the post did reveal the Wear OS 3 release date would be some time in ‘mid to second half of 2022.’

That’s when the update will come to already-released smartwatches (and presumably wearables released next year). The bad news? The current compatibility list is small, consisting of only a few top-end devices from a couple brands, including:

  • TicWatch Pro 3 GPS / LTE
  • Ticwatch E3
  • Future TicWatch devices
  • Fossil’s unnamed watches launching later in 2021

That’s not just a short list - there are some notable absences, including from Samsung itself.

Dude, where’s my Samsung Galaxy Watch update?

Okay, maybe Google’s just playing it cool - after all, Samsung may have teased the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, but hasn’t outright promised it’ll be revealed during its upcoming Samsung Unpacked event on August 11. But c’mon, what are the odds that the next top-end Samsung smartwatch doesn’t use the ‘unified platform’ the company teamed up with Google to build? 

Likewise, we’d be very surprised if the still-unconfirmed Google Pixel Watch wouldn’t run Wear OS 3. We’ve heard several rumors suggesting it could launch later this year alongside the Google Pixel 6. Obviously, it behooves Google not to leak one of its biggest reveals of the year, but we now suspect what software it’s going to run - when (or if) it launches.

But we are curious why Google wouldn’t also announce that the premium Fitbit smartwatch it teased at Google IO 2021 would run Wear OS 3, especially since they explicitly stated it would run Wear OS software. Perhaps that means this watch’s release date is too far in the future to even mention right now, lest the tech media work itself into a tizzy at any mention of it...ah well, too late. 

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.