Google’s Wear OS Gets Battery Life Improvements

Not too long ago, Google announced a major design update for its smartwatch platform: Wear OS. The company is now releasing what seems to be the first ever major update since the significant redesign introduced back in August.

The update, which is simply called the “H Update”, introduces a number of power-related improvements, as first reported by Droid Life. Smartwatches tend to have really bad battery life, and Google is tweaking Wear OS to give you as much battery life as possible.

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The battery saver mode on Wear OS, for example, will now switch to a time-only mode where the watch only displays the time when your battery falls below 10%. And after 30 minutes of inactivity, Wear OS will automatically put your watch into a deep sleep mode that should help your watch last longer.

Along with the above battery-focused features, Google is introducing a new feature called Smart App Resume. Although it’s unclear exactly how this feature works, Google says you can now easily switch between all your apps and continue where you left off. The updated system also introduces a two-step power off feature that lets you turn off your watch simply by holding the power button until you see the power off and restart options.

Interestingly enough, the update isn’t going to be available for all Wear OS devices instantly, and Google suggests the rollout could take the “next few months.”

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Conversation 9 comments

  • wolters

    Premium Member
    15 November, 2018 - 5:27 pm

    <p>Even with the new Fossil watches with the 3100 CPU's, battery life is still "about a day." WearOS is often frustrating because of battery life. I currently have a Emporio Armani Smartwatch which has GPS, NFC, Heart Rare Monitor, Swim Proof and Water Proof. But I only get "about a day"…mind you, it has fast charging…I charge it at 5AM, it is done by 6AM, moderate use during the day and take offf at 9PM with about 25% left. I guess that is par for the course, even for an Apple Watch. </p><p><br></p><p>I truly like WearOS but I have to say for Android Users, Galaxy Watch is so much better. Better battery life (3-4 days on 46mm model), Fitbit like Health Tracking, excellent and consistent notifications and the ability to respond to most (if not all) messaging apps. Sure, it doesn't have Google Assistant or a handful (and I mean very few) of apps that you'd miss…but it is truly the most robust SmartWatch for Android users. </p>

    • ivarh

      Premium Member
      15 November, 2018 - 5:41 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#368401">In reply to wolters:</a></em></blockquote><p>And Apple is laughing all the way to the bank….</p><p><br></p><p>Since the wearable market for android is so small the last thing it needs are seperate and incompatible platforms. Google is pushing android wear, Samsung is pushing Tizen and now huawei is also pushing their own plattform. This is the best way to get developers to skip developing apps for watches for android completly. </p>

      • wolters

        Premium Member
        15 November, 2018 - 8:20 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#368413">In reply to ivarh:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think Huawei&nbsp;making their own OS was perhaps a writing on the wall moment for WearOS. Sure, WearOS is all over the designer/fashion market but most people don't buy them for WearOS.</p><p><br></p><p>As much as it pains me to say, if you want to remain on Android and want a SmartWatch, the Galaxy Watch is the best way to go, even if you compromise a few Google Apps. </p>

        • christian.hvid

          16 November, 2018 - 3:22 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#368438">In reply to wolters:</a></em></blockquote><p>Huawei and Samsung have apparently both concluded that a smartwatch OS needs to be built from the ground up with battery efficiency in mind. There's only so much you can do with Android in that respect (the same goes for iOS, apparently). My guess is that the renaming of Android Wear to Wear OS is the first step towards replacing the Android underpinnings entirely, possibly with Fuchsia.</p><p><br></p><p>As for third-party smartwatch apps… I'm using exactly zero of those on my Huawei, and I'm not alone. It's quite possible that smartwatches just aren't fit to be open app platforms in the way smartphones are, and that smartwatches will gradually become more like the feature phones of yore, with the addition of AI assistants.</p>

          • wolters

            Premium Member
            16 November, 2018 - 8:49 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#368571">In reply to christian.hvid:</a></em></blockquote><p>I have to agree on the third party apps. When I used the Galaxy Watch day to day, I really didn't miss them. I actually enjoyed how well the Galaxy Watch handled exactly what I want: Notifications and Responding, Health Tracking, Sleep Tracking, Making/Taking Calls. And with 3-4 day battery life. </p><p><br></p><p>As picky as I am in wanting to have Google Assistant on my watch, I may find myself going back to Galaxy Watch because it does what I expect from a SmartWatch and does it well. </p>

  • Angusmatheson

    15 November, 2018 - 9:06 pm

    <p>It is interesting that I see Apple watches and various forms of fitbit – and almost never android wear devices. I am not sure I of the future or Fitbit, but I think the Apple Watch isn’t a potent 1) increased revenue generator from current users, and 2) a potent moat to stop iPhone users from wanting to switch.</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    16 November, 2018 - 2:40 am

    <p>My, now nearly 4 year old G Watch R got the August WearOS update, which I wasn't expecting, and it's now running smoother and faster than ever before. I think Google optimized a lot of WearOS code to improve performance, and I'm hoping this update will do the same for battery. I can still get a whole day (and a bit) out of my battery, but this sounds like it should help further. I just hope the 'deep sleep' mode doesn't introduce too much lag during wake up.</p>

  • IanYates82

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2018 - 6:39 am

    <p>My TicWatch got a Wear OS update a few weeks back. Since then it's had *much* better battery life. Lasts the whole day, every day. Often in to the next day if I forget to charge it. Very happy with it. Didn't configure anything in particular, just seems to be better managing the battery.</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2018 - 1:10 pm

    <p>Now if Qualcomm could be bothered to make a watch SOC that isn’t based on technology from the Bronze Age, they might really have something!</p>

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