It appeared as though Google had given up on Wear OS as a platform up until August of last year. The top Android smartwatches were dominated by Samsung’s Tizen-based models, with Wear OS receiving hardly any upgrades and an app ecosystem that was all but dead. That changed when Google and Samsung teamed up to introduce the Galaxy Watch 4, which ran Wear OS 3 and combined the finest features of Tizen and Wear OS. It was a new beginning for the platform, which has since been strengthened with the introduction of the Galaxy Watch 5 series and the Pixel Watch this year. Google has seen a 3x increase in device activations this year, indicating that its efforts are beginning to pay off.
As the market leader in Wear OS, Samsung is apparently benefiting the most. In Q2 of this year, it is anticipated that more than 2.8 million smartwatches were shipped. Following the release of the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro, the number will probably rise even further in Q3. Due to its restricted availability and unimpressive reviews, the Google Pixel Watch may not blow the sales charts away, but it will assist increase developer confidence in the platform.
In its announcement, Google mentions that developers that have invested in the Wear OS ecosystem have already noticed the advantages. The well-known to-do app Todoist has witnessed a stunning 50% increase in installation rate since redesigning its app for Wear OS 3. Since releasing its Wear OS software that makes use of the new APIs to provide a better user experience, Strava, one of the greatest fitness apps for Android, has experienced a 30% rise in daily active users. On the other hand, Outdooractive cut the time it took to develop its apps by 30% by using Compose for Wear OS. To make it easier for users to find apps, Google has overhauled the Wear OS Play store. These developments and statistics taken together will serve as a motivator for additional developers to create Wear OS 3 apps.