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Google Assistant Support Ending for Wear OS 2 on August 31, 2023

If you’re currently using a Wear OS 2 smartwatch, now might be a good moment to contemplate transitioning to Wear OS 3. In the most recent version of the Wear OS 2 companion application, a notice encouraging users to switch to Wear OS 3 has been identified by 9to5Google. This is due to the upcoming discontinuation of Google Assistant support.

Reports from users indicate that notifications have started to arrive. Following the initial release, Ivy Chen, a spokesperson from Google, informed The Verge that “Google Assistant will cease functioning on Wear OS 2 devices after August 31, 2023.” Google has chosen not to disclose any forthcoming intentions beyond this date.

The intended phasing out of Google Assistant serves as a clear example of the complexity surrounding the shift to Wear OS 3. Back in May 2021, Google and Samsung unveiled the platform, with Google Assistant being one of the prominent features. However, it wasn’t until a year later that it became accessible on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series. Subsequently, it was introduced on the Pixel Watch, but it took until this summer for Fossil to finally receive the Assistant functionality.

As of the present moment, Google Assistant is not yet available on every Wear OS 3 watch. For instance, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 boasts Wear OS 3 and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus chipset, but it sill lacks the Assistant feature, unlike Fossil watches which have it now. Although there are methods to address this, the official Assistant app cannot be downloaded from the Play Store just yet. Meanwhile, individuals owning Mobvoi watches with eligible Wear OS 2 versions are still waiting for the transition to Wear OS 3.

Adding to the complexity is the imminent obsolescence of Wear OS 3. This year, at the I/O event, the introduction of Wear OS 4 was revealed, and just this month, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 became the inaugural device to showcase this new platform. Furthermore, it’s anticipated that the upcoming Pixel Watch 2 will debut alongside the Pixel 8 this autumn, featuring Wear OS 4. On the Galaxy Watch 6, the Assistant functionality is already present, and it’s expected to be similarly available on the Pixel Watch 2.

The availability of Assistant on smartwatches not manufactured by Google or Samsung is up to the device manufacturers. Ivy Chen conveyed to The Verge, stating, “Wear OS enables device manufacturers to tailor the user experience to their liking, incorporating their favored apps and services as the primary experience.”

It’s logical for Google to discontinue Assistant for Wear OS 2. The digital assistant’s performance gradually deteriorated, and utilizing Assistant on Wear OS 3 offers a vastly improved overall user experience. While the company put in considerable effort to sustain Wear OS 2 and introduce new features during the transition phase, the last thing Wear OS smartwatches need is further fragmentation. Even though Wear OS 4 is available (albeit on a single smartwatch model at the moment), the complete deployment of Wear OS 3 to all eligible Wear OS 2 watches is still pending.

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