Google I/O 2021: Google combines WearOS with Samsung's Tizen

Google said it's collaborating with Samsung to create a unified wearables platform. It's also incorporating the best of Fitibit into wearOS.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

In its biggest update yet to its wearables ecosystem, Google on Tuesday announced it's combining its wearOS with Samsung's Tizen. Additionally, Google said it's rolling out a new health and fitness service created by Google-owned Fitbit. It's also improving the user experience on wearOS. 

The updates were announced during the Google I/O keynote address. 

The new, unified platform developed by Google and Samsung will be focused on on faster performance, longer battery life and the developer community. It will support up to 30 percent faster apps. By taking advantage of smaller, lower-power cores -- and better tracking activity during the day -- it will offer longer battery life. 

Meanwhile, the platform will continue to be available for all device makers. This will allow developers to build apps with a single set of APIs.

As for the Fitbit news, Google said that it is adding Fitbit's most popular features to wearOS watches. That includes features like tracking your health progress throughout the day and on-wrist goal celebrations. There are also plans to build a premium Fitbit smartwatch based on wearOS. 

In terms of the consumer experience, the new wearOS will include a new navigation system designed to help users get things done faster. For instance, there will be shortcuts to functions like switching to another app. 

Google is also adding more tiles, so users can scroll through screens with useful pieces of information from apps. Any developer can create a tile for wearOS. For instance, in addition to checking the weather on a tile, a user can now get an update from the Calm app. 

Google has also worked on improving the experience its own products deliver via wearOS. For instance, users can download music for offline listening from the Youtube Music app, or use turn-by-turn navigation from Google Maps without their phone.

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