(Pocket-lint) - Google has finally confirmed the name of the unified smartwatch operating system it first teased at I/O, following up Wear OS 2 with - brace yourself - Wear OS 3.
We still don't have many concrete details regarding the overhauled platform, which will be the result of a collaborative effort between Google and Samsung, but we do now know it follows the same branding as previous Wear updates.
With Samsung recently teasing details about the One Watch UI experience, there was speculation that the platform could be completely renamed.
Instead, Google quietly dropped the official name into its latest blog post, while also detailing which existing Wear smartwatches would be eligible for the big upgrade - one that's expected, though not confirmed, to be headlined by the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic when they launch in August.
As has been hinted in recent weeks, the blog post also confirmed that many existing smartwatches won't be making the leap to Wear OS 3. Google outlined that Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, TicWatch Pro 3 Cellular/LTE, TicWatch E3, as well as new smartwatches from the Fossil Group launching later this year, would be the only eligible devices.
Interestingly, Google also says that it expects partners to be able to roll out the system update to these existing models from the "mid to second half of 2022" - later than we expected, considering all the hubbub.
By that time, we would expect a new Fitbit flagship to potentially running the software, too, joined by the more traditional smartwatch offerings from Samsung, Fossil and TicWatch.
And though none of this is great news for many existing Wear OS users, Google has also just released a big update to the platform. As detailed in a separate Google blog post, users can now finally install apps for their Wear OS smartwatch through a paired Android phone, instead of having to use the Play Store app on the watch.
When the update rolls out over the coming weeks, then, this should mean that users will be able to search for Wear OS apps and install them directly from their phones.
So, it's not all bad for existing Wear users. However, the latest information regarding the upcoming update confirms initial suspicions, and mean that it's very difficult to recommend buying a Wear smartwatch until we've seen the next-gen offerings from Samsung, Fossil, Fitbit and perhaps even Google itself.