The rollout of Wear OS 3 has been anything but smooth. The smartwatch platform was launched around two years ago, debuting on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, but it took over a year to see the vanilla Wear OS 3 experience when it finally arrived on the Pixel Watch.
Despite the fact that it has been around for so long, many compatible smartwatches are still awaiting their upgrade, with devices like the TicWatch Pro 3 still stuck on Wear OS 2, despite being promised an upgrade at the earliest opportunity.
Wear OS 4 just arrived with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, too, so what’s going to happen to all of these smartwatches that are stuck with outdated software? Until now, it hasn’t proven to be much of an issue, but that’s about to change.
Initially, 9to5Google uncovered a string of code in the Wear OS companion app that suggested Google Assistant support was ending on older devices. Then, this was confirmed by multiple users receiving a notification telling them that Wear OS 2 watches will lose access to the Google Assistant app on August 31 2023.
So, if you’re using a Wear OS 2 smartwatch and want to keep using Google Assistant, you have a few options for how to proceed, and we’ll detail them all below.
As we mentioned, the rollout of Wear OS 3 has been slow and frustrating, but many compatible watches are finally starting to receive their Wear OS 3 updates. Fossil, for example, has made the update available for its Gen 6 watches. Meanwhile, the TicWatch Pro 3 models and TicWatch E3 are currently in beta testing, so the update should be right around the corner.
It’s important to note that the update process involves factory resetting your watch, and there isn’t currently an option for cloud backups, so you might want to take a moment to write down all of your favourite apps before beginning the process.
Use Google Assistant on an alternative device
If there’s no way to use Google Assistant on your Wear OS watch, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop using Google Assistant, it can still be accessed via a variety of devices that you probably already own. Most of us carry our smartphone at all times, and if you enable the feature, you can simply say “Hey Google” and not even need to unlock your phone. You might even find that you can leave your phone in your pocket when you do so, it’s worked for us many times.
In addition, many wireless earbuds allow you to access Google Assistant with either your voice, a button press or a touch gesture. So you might find it more convenient to use your headphones for all your voice assistant needs.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These days, Google Assistant can be accessed by smart TVs, home appliances, Nest hubs and even cars. If you’re mourning the loss of Google Assistant on your watch, check what other gadgets you have that can do the same thing, you might be surprised by how many you have.
Get a new smartwatch
If those solutions aren’t cutting it for you, then it’s time to upgrade your timepiece. The most up-to-date model on the market is the newly released Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 – currently the only smartwatch running Wear OS 4. So if you want the ultimate in future-proofing, that has to be the way to go.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
If you’re not in such a hurry, though, you might want to wait and see how the Pixel Watch 2 shapes up, as that’s likely to launch in October, and will almost certainly be running on Wear OS 4.
The only watch we wouldn’t recommend is the TicWatch Pro 5, as even though it’s running Wear OS 3, it doesn’t offer access to Google Assistant, either. A shame, really, because it’s a cracking watch in every other regard.
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