Google announced today that it is collaborating with Samsung to bring the best of Wear and Tizen into what it calls a single, unified platform that will work on existing and future devices from both companies and from third parties.
“By working together we have been able to take strengths of each and combine them into an experience that has faster performance, longer battery life, and more of the apps you love available for the watch,” Google’s Bjorn Kilburn explains. “Apps start up to 30 percent faster on the latest chipsets with smooth user interface animations and motion. To achieve longer battery life, we’ve worked to optimize the lower layers of the operating system. Finally, our unified platform will make it easier for developers to build great apps for the watch.”
This combination answers the many questions that fans have been asking about the future of Google Wear in the wake of Google’s Fitbit acquisition. And it looks like Wear has won out over Fitbit’s OS on the platform side, though of course Google will bring Fitbit’s services to the new unified platform. It also answers some questions about the future of Samsung’s wearable products, which to date have used Tizen instead of Wear.
“Google Maps and Google Assistant are being redesigned and improved,” Kilburn continues. “Google Pay will also be redesigned and add support for 26 new countries, beyond the 11 countries currently available. YouTube Music will also arrive on Wear later this year, equipped with features like smart downloads for subscribers to enjoy music while on the go. [And] health and fitness tracking is essential for wearables. With the latest Wear update, we welcome Fitbit’s many years of health expertise to the experience. The best of Fitbit, including features like tracking your health progress throughout your day and on-wrist goal celebrations, will motivate you on your journey to better health.”
Google says that the new Wear will roll out later this year.