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Google's new Wear OS update adds a suspiciously Samsung-like feature

Swipable "tiles" add widgets to the watch.

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Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein

New Wear OS Tiles arrive this month.

Google

Google's yearly I/O developer conference is next week, but the company announced an update to its smartwatch software ahead of the big show. The feature may seem familiar if you've ever used a Samsung Galaxy Watch.

Wear OS, Google's five-year-old smartwatch software platform, got its last big update in the fall. That update added swipable access to new fitness features and notifications, but Tiles looks to extend the swipe-over features further, adding widget-like mini-apps for info on the fly. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, one of the best Android-compatible smartwatches that doesn't run Wear OS, already does this. 

The new Tiles show weather, heart rate, news headlines, a timer, the next event on the calendar and fitness goals. Google is planning to add more tiles in the future, according to Google's blog post. Could that mean a shift away from apps and towards Tiles down the road? More likely, they'll be used to help make accessing info easier.

Google's launching the new Wear OS Tiles update in the next month. We'll get a closer look next week at Google I/O.