The launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 series marked a new chapter in Wear OS history. New features, including the ability to use OEM skins on top of the platform, are coming alongside performance improvements under the hood. Some of these features might be exclusive to Wear OS 3 smartwatches, which currently only have one representative, but owners of Wear OS 2 devices need not be too jealous as some important features will be arriving on their own smartwatches in the coming weeks.
Google announced a few new experiences for Wear OS 3 on the Galaxy Watch 4, including a new Maps app and a YouTube Music app with support for offline downloads. Of those five experiences, three will, fortunately, be available for existing Wear OS 2 smartwatches as well. For one, Google Pay support is expanding to Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the UAE, with more promised to join the fray.
One of the most notable, however, is the updated Messages by Google app that will let you more easily respond to messages without having to take out your phone. That’s mostly thanks to a new UI that makes it easier to type out text, even on a tiny screen. Messages on Wear OS syncs with the smartphone counterpart, so you’ll never miss out on important, well, messages.
There are also new Tiles coming, Wear OS’ version of home screen widgets that give quick access to an associated app’s content and controls. Those new third-party tiles include ones from Strava, Calm, and Spotify. Spotify recently announced offline listening coming to existing Wear OS devices as well.
This is definitely great news for Wear OS smartwatch owners who might have felt abandoned by the whole Wear OS 3 situation. It still isn’t clear at this point if smartwatches launched within the last 12 months will even get the chance to be upgraded to the latest version of Wear OS. This way, even if they don’t, they will still get some of the juiciest features as well.