The Google Pixel Watch is not the magic bullet Wear OS has been waiting for

by Jeremy

I am currently wearing a Fossil Gen 5E on my wrist, and while it’s just okay, I’m longing for my Galaxy Watch Active. I’d be wearing the Watch Active right now, even though it’s two years older than the Fossil Gen 5e. My dad’s Fitbit broke, so I’m letting him test-drive 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 needs significant optimization and streamlining to enable it work better, and I’m firmly convinced Google will not do it alone. We know that OnePlus tried to make Wear OS work for the OnePlus Watch, but that eventually failed, and OnePlus had to go it alone.


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Considering that the Google Hardware division is essentially cursed when it comes to its software — major bugs have impacted almost every Pixel generation as well as the eight-month-old Chromecast with Google TV —, I’m not sure why we think Wear OS’s systemic issues are going to be fixed by the recently leaked Pixel Watch magically. If anyone’s going to help Google finally get its shit together around Wear OS, it won’t be Google itself; it will be a partner like Samsung.

Yes, I know that Google Pixel’s software is seen by many as the “true” version of Android, but Samsung’s One UI is the more polished and put-together version of Android that manufacturers are emulating. From OnePlus’s OxygenOS 11 and now even Google itself pulling some of One UI’s ideas into Android 12, there’s no denying that Samsung knows how to design a user-facing experience geared towards what users need and expect.

Samsung leads the way on tablets and foldable. Why not on Wear OS, too?

Samsung also led the way on foldable, working with Google to improve app compatibility and help shape how Android handles folding phones. And let’s not forget tablets, where Samsung quite literally runs the table of best Android tablets and where its Dex desktop-like model is leaps and bounds 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 eye. Back in 2014, I could understand ditching Android Wear because it needed a lot of work, and Samsung needed a system that could deliver a worthwhile experience right now. It also allowed Samsung to show off Tizen as an operating platform.

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