Wear OS is not dead. As we wait for Google to complete its acquisition of Fitbit, the smartwatch platform has languished without a new version in years. Instead, we’ve been getting small updates every now and then and today we’re learning of another set of changes. Wear OS is getting three new tiles — Workouts, Weather and Breathe. The system’s native health-tracking software Fit is also being tweaked for easier use.
When Google introduced Tiles last year, there were only six options for users to add and scroll through. This year, it removed the 5-tile limit from before, but hasn’t done much with the feature since. Today’s expansion means there are more helpful options to make Wear OS a bit more like Samsung’s superior Tizen OS.
The Workouts tile offers shortcuts to recent workouts and displays metrics while you’re exercising. Weather gets a new look that Google says is “easier on the eyes” and shows the usual forecast information. Breathe, meanwhile, lets you launch guided breathing sessions more quickly and tells you how your heart rate changed between the start and end of each session.
Google is also revamping its Fit app to better show information it’s pulling from various connected devices. In addition to the rings showing your steps and hearts points progress, the home page will also display a summary of your metrics, your most recent workout and your trends over time for things like heart rate, weight and blood pressure.
Sleep-tracking is also getting more useful, particularly for those who wear a smartwatch, ring or use a connected mat in their beds. Fit will now show nightly activity, sleep stages and let you set targets for bedtime schedules. This will also work if you use sleep-tracking apps like Sleep As Android or Sleep Cycle, and Google says it will be expanding this feature so more devices and apps might be supported in future.
These updates will be rolling out over the next few days, and while none of them are groundbreaking improvements, they’re a heartening sign that Google is continuing to work on its wearable platform. Many of these additions are Google catching up to the likes of Samsung’s Tizen or Apple’s watchOS, but with a more frequent upgrade cadence, it seems Google can keep releasing tools to close the gap while it potentially readies a new version in the background.