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Google Assistant Phased Out on Older Wear OS Watches

Google has officially announced its decision to terminate support for Google Assistant on older Wear OS smartwatches. This move will specifically impact devices running on Wear OS 2 or previous versions. Google’s notifications to users signal the end of Assistant functionality on these older devices by August 31, 2023.

Key Highlights:

  • Google Assistant will no longer function on Wear OS 2 or older versions after the mentioned date.
  • Notifications sent by Google suggest users upgrade to devices supporting Wear OS 3.0 or higher to continue using the voice assistant.
  • Affected brands include Mobvoi, Motorola, Xiaomi, Casio, LG, Montblanc, Polar, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Fossil among others.
  • Older devices, especially those manufactured in 2020 or before, may face this limitation due to hardware restrictions.
  • Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch 2 will ship with the latest Wear OS 4 software.

Community Reactions and Uncovered Details

The termination details were first spotted by 9to5Google in the Wear OS Companion App, specifically designed for Wear OS 2 and lower devices. Furthermore, some users, including Mishaal Rahman – a recognized name in the Android community, shared notifications displayed on their smartwatches about the impending discontinuation of Google Assistant support.

Comments and Concerns:

  • The quick turnaround on the decision has left many users in a predicament.
  • While the decision may seem sudden, Wear OS 3 and the upcoming Wear OS 4 have become the central focus for Google.
  • Concerns have been raised regarding the complicated transition from Wear OS 2 to Wear OS 3.
  • Not every device that’s theoretically eligible for Wear OS 3 can run the new system efficiently.

Industry Responses and Challenges

The transition between Wear OS 2 and 3 has undeniably been rough. Some manufacturers, like Mobvoi, issued apologies for the lack of support for the newer OS on certain models. Interestingly, while the newer TicWatch Pro 5 runs on recent software, it doesn’t support Google Assistant. This trend isn’t exclusive to Mobvoi. The Fitbit Versa 4, for example, lacks Assistant capabilities even though its predecessor, Versa 3, did not. The introduction of the Pixel Watch may resolve many of these challenges for some users, but brand loyalty might deter many from making the switch.

Industry Struggles:

  • Several smartwatch models, including those from reputed brands, are unable to make the shift to Wear OS 3 or use the revamped Google Assistant.
  • Despite two years passing since the introduction of Wear OS 3, several devices still can’t make the switch, hinting at inherent transition complexities.
  • With the anticipated arrival of Wear OS 4, there’s uncertainty about whether Google would invest time in addressing the existing transition issues or focus solely on the new release.

Looking Ahead

While the phase-out is a strategic move on Google’s part, it’s leaving a segment of its user base with limited options. The potential for confusion and frustration is high, especially as Google hasn’t communicated clear plans past the August 31 cut-off. It remains to be seen if the tech giant plans on supporting other smartwatch companies in their transition or will leave them to navigate the challenges independently. As the deadline looms, stakeholders from both the tech industry and the consumer base anxiously await more clarity.

Jonas Muthoni
Jonas is a visionary serial entrepreneur with an innate ability to turn ideas into influential realities. As the founder of Deviate Agency and SomeFuse, Jonas has successfully carved a niche in the world of media by helping brands capture the spotlight with his meticulously crafted strategies. His prowess goes beyond business; he is an avid writer and contributor to various publications, sharing insights that reflect his deep understanding of the contemporary market landscape. Beyond his professional pursuits, Jonas's heart is deeply rooted in philanthropy. For over six years, he has been a dedicated board member for a breast cancer organization, reinforcing his commitment to giving back to the community and making a tangible difference in the lives of many. In a world that's constantly evolving, Jonas Muthoni stands as a beacon of innovation, compassion, and leadership.