WearOS (previously Android Wear) is operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearable devices designed by Google. At the time of writing there is around 40 different models that run WearOS on the market. I got my first of those models, Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro, just a week ago. Previously I had the amazing little thing called Pebble 2 which was very good product with its great battery life and other great but not unnecessary features. Unfortunately it broke after 2 years of use and I had to find a replacement.
I have been using Android since forever but WearOS is a new thing for me. Most of the things I am pointing at this story, or review if you want to call it, maybe because of the Mobvois way of doing things or simply because of the operating system itself.
So what is annoying me with my new watch? Well, couple of things actually:
Taking a closer look at the performance issues with simple top command while in idle shows few things. The system_server process is all the time using a lot of CPU capacity even when the watch is idle. This is though predictable as the system_server is used for taking care of all core services inside Android system. Another thing using the CPU are watchfaces. No matter which I use, seem to take their piece of the CPU even when the display is off. The watch also seems to run on very low memory as you can see:
I might have mislead you a bit as the watch on my wrist is not actually my first WearOS wearable. I already had one Ticwatch Pro that lasted almost one week before going to bootloop and never recovered. Fortunately I got the replacement on the same day thanks to Verkkokauppa.coms great customer service. Let’s see how long the new piece lasts before taking it back to the store…
Even the start of this story was quite hard criticism, the WearOS and Ticwatch Pro have also good things. I really love the FSTN screen on top of the AMOLED as it saves the battery and provides the most valuable information like what time it is. Also the watch is packed with features like GPS, NFC and heart rate monitoring which I appreciate a lot.
WearOS also has a lot of useful applications in the Play Store and I am sure I haven’t found out the best ones yet. Drop me a comment of your most loved WearOS applications — I am happy to try them out!
I see the wearable market will grow a lot in the future and the problems here might be obsolete even in few months. There is new CPUs coming for wearable devices (such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100) which promise more speed and better battery life. Competition is also growing and there is more and more suppliers of the wearable devices — usually with their own invention of the operating system. One thing I hope is that Google will not drop the WearOS completely but continue the development and figuring out ways to fix the problems. And of course that I can get my hands on their newest things ;)
I am Heikki Hellgren, Software Expert and technology enthusiast working at Elektrobit Automotive. My interests are in software construction, tools, automatic testing and all the new and cool stuff like AI and autonomous driving. You can follow me on Medium and Twitter. Also you can check out my website for more information.