Polar’s next watch could run WearOS 2013 – and that would be bad news for Apple
Polar watches are generally very good running and triathlon devices, but they are very outdated in appearance and function.
With great running stats and GPS credentials, they can go head-to-head with Garmin and Apple in best running watch level list, but the lack of functionality beyond exercise makes them unlikely to be a serious contender against Apple and Samsung devices as well as the Google Pixel Watch in the lifestyle space. They do not run third-party applications or provide much connected functionality beyond basic notifications.
However, all of that could be about to change when Polar suggests that its next watch could run Google’s WearOS operating system. This information comes from Polar’s CEO, Sanders Werring (opens in a new tab), in an interview with Wareable.
“Yes, that is an option,” Werring said in the interview. “This is really a question of the state of technology. And we see this technology emerging.”
Polar’s last watch on the Android platform, the Polar M600, was released in 2016 when the operating system was still known as Android Wear, and Werring goes on to say that the M600 was ahead of its time.
“In those days, we had to do too much heavy lifting because there was no reference to this kind of technology on Wear OS… sometimes that was the case with innovations; sometimes you come too early.”
Polar has begun licensing its fitness trackers to partners, such as OLDasio G-Shock was announced last weekand Werring suggest that could be the way forward to access other technologies that Polar doesn’t offer at the moment, such as electrocardiogram scanning, aka ECG.
Many other things best smart watch, including the Apple Watch, offer ECG scanning, but Polar has never used the feature. Having the watch in the WearOS ecosystem will allow other developers to handle the ECG functionality, while Polar focuses on what it’s good at.
in us Google Pixel Watch Review, we said that the integration of Fitbit with Google could be tighter. I like Fitbit’s ecosystem from a general design standpoint, but if you’re a regular runner, Polar’s advanced running metrics selection is better.
You get running wattage on your wrist to measure the effort you put in while running (something Fitbit can’t do); GPS features like Back Tracking, which takes you back to the start of a route (something Fitbit can’t do either); plus stride length, cadence, and all sorts of other sophisticated measurements, all presented in an easy-to-access manner, and users don’t need an additional paid subscription to access.
If Polar can put its amazing fitness features into a truly connected WearOS smartwatch, it will be a force to be reckoned with. And Google will have nothing to worry about, as all of this will still be based on Google’s own WearOS platform; really, it’s a sign that WearOS is maturing as intended.
However, the fact that other companies want to capitalize on WearOS’s success could be a big blow to Apple, as the arrival of new and improved connected devices on WearOS 3.5 will make the smart watch space even worse. Smart is flooded with high quality products based on Google. creating more choices than ever – and fewer reasons for Android users to switch to Apple.