Here’s why OnePlus didn’t use Wear OS on its watch


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  • OnePlus has revealed that it skipped Wear OS on the Watch for the sake of battery life.
  • The company found that many people didn’t like the one-day batteries of many rivals.
  • It was open to adding an always-on display feature, though.

OnePlus was quick to acknowledge that the Watch wouldn’t run Wear OS, but it hasn’t said much about why. Thankfully, there’s now an explanation — if a brief one.  According to Droid Life, the company’s Watch product manager revealed in a Q&A that OnePlus mostly chose the more limited RTOS over Google’s platform to offer “longer battery life.”

While OnePlus didn’t elaborate further on the decision to skip Wear OS, it said in an opening statement that one-day battery life was the most common reason why people stopped wearing their smartwatches. The Watch’s two-week battery life clearly addresses that claim, even if it means losing an app ecosystem and more sophisticated features like Google Assistant.

Read more: The best Wear OS watches

That approach has also influenced OnePlus’ decisions on features beyond Wear OS. The firm acknowledged that many people wished the Watch would offer an always-on display, but said it was only “evaluating” the possibility of adding that feature through an over-the-air update. It wanted feedback on whether AOD was worthwhile when it could boost the power draw by “almost 50%.”

The choice of RTOS over Wear OS might have given OnePlus more control over performance, too. The product manager added that OnePlus brought over the visual speed-ups it has used on phones since the OnePlus 7 Pro, hiking the frame rate from 30FPS to over 50FPS and improving the fluidity of 50-plus scenes. You won’t be waiting for the interface to catch up when you’re starting a workout.

The news may prove frustrating if you were hoping the OnePlus Watch would serve as a full competitor to Wear OS mainstays like Fossil’s timepieces. If you don’t care for a wider app selection and mainly use your smartwatch for workouts or calls, though, you might not mind. Many people are already worried about the fate of Wear OS as it is — this completely bypasses those concerns.

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