Google’s Android 12L and Wear OS 3 rollouts are too confusing

At the end of last year, Google announced Android 12L. This is a tablet and foldable optimized operating system. After years of neglect, Google has finally shown that it takes form factor seriously. The same is true for WearOS 3 and Google is breathing new life into smartwatches. There is only one problem with both.

At the time of writing, none of these operating systems have updated one tablet, foldable, or smartwatch. Google planned to overhaul how smartwatches and tablet platforms work better, but the company’s rollout has undermined its ambitious plans.

Google’s high ambition

Android 12L 2-column approach for notifications and tile panels.

Starting with the first update announced, WearOS 3 has finally taken Google seriously about smartwatches. While the Apple Watch has dominated wearables, other brands (such as Samsung and Garmin) have moved to their own custom operating systems due to Google’s lack of urgency. WearOS 3, which prioritizes design and speed, should have improved it.

Google said there would be a delay, but the update was announced at I / O 2021 over a year ago. This is a distant memory at the moment, and WearOS 3 is the actual device. It only appears on Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic, both covered by Samsung’s One UI overlay. Google’s Pixel Watch will be announced with Wear OS 3 a year and a half after its launch.

For Android 12L, this is an update aimed at bridging the gap between Android and iPad OS. In theory, this is a good update. It provides a new API for developers, customizes the interface to make better use of larger screens, and cleans up some of Android 12’s more annoying issues. I say “theoretically” because at the time of writing (and one month after the release of Android 13), the Android 12L is only available on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Neither of the two is foldable or tablet.

Trying to understand the delay

Wear OS
Andy Boxol / Digital Trends

Perhaps there is a good reason for this. Google partners have better handles on the market than Google. They also did all the legwork and market research. Would you like to let them set their own conditions? Perhaps Samsung and Xiaomi don’t care much about Android 12L and have their own solution to the problem to fix. Perhaps with Google’s Android 13 push, you don’t have to worry about Android 12L push. After all, why get a half-baked Android release when you can get the whole cake later?

Some analysts also share a positive view of Google’s strategy.

“Wear OS has continued to grow since Samsung’s participation. Google continues to expand its eco-coverage by releasing updated versions frequently. This is the same reason for updating the tablet platform. In anticipation of a gradual growth in smartphones, Google will invest more resources to drive the growth of the installation base of other products, “said Counterpoint Research senior researcher Ian Lam in an email comment on Digital Trends. Told to.

What are all these points?

Rendering of Google Pixel watch.

From a street perspective, it’s not clear what Google is doing here. If you want to tackle the realization that it’s not worth buying a Wear OS watch like last year, announcing Wear OS 3 was absolutely right. At the same time, by limiting the OS from being deployed to other Wear OS watches, it shows the same arrogance that Microsoft has shown on Windows Phone, leaving early adopters in search of new luster. did. Sure, Google is trying to avoid updating old watches someday, but the lack of clarity in the company leaves the loyalists hanging.

The same is true for Android 12L. Earlier this year, he criticized that Android 12L wasn’t fully available. Android tablets already have enough optimizations from third-party manufacturers that make much of the Android 12L feel redundant. Google may want to disagree with that argument, but the fact that it’s not accepted by anyone involved, or in fact, raises questions about the level of seriousness of the company. After all, if Google intended to postpone the Android big screen update to Android 13, would it have to make a really big song and dance about the spring rollout?

Google’s problem with tablets and smartwatches was that they weren’t sure if they knew what they were doing. Android 12L and Wear OS 3 were supposed to fix that, but they just pushed that point further.

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