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Wearable Tech

Google's Wear OS watches get serious about better battery life

Future Wear OS watches might finally last a bit longer.

Android-wear-2-lg-watch-style

Juan Garzón/CNET

Odds are, the next big wave of Google smartwatches are coming later this year. In the meantime, Google's updating Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) with a few key upgrades. In addition to a better on-board Google Assistant, Google's added battery-saving functions to the new developer build of Wear OS, the company announced Wednesday.

The key parts of that involve re-enabling Wi-Fi when Bluetooth is disconnected, something Google automatically deactivated previously. Google's also recommending that apps don't use background app functions if at all possible, making foreground function the main way apps work, and keeping apps from chewing up processor and battery life.

It's still a big problem with smartwatches. The Apple Watch lasts two days, max. Wear OS watches are largely similar. The Fitbit Versa leads Apple and Google's watches on battery, but still needs two charges a week. But face it: Right now, smartwatches mean keeping a charger handy.

Batteries can't get too large on watches, but upcoming Qualcomm processors might be better at sipping power for longer. And Google's Wear OS changes might help with that, much like Android P. Perhaps.

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