Though there still isn’t a Wear OS “champion” device to compete with the Apple Watch, Google isn’t giving up on refining its smartwatch operating system, and the latest evidence is a semi-new feature called Tiles. Six different Tiles will enable Wear OS users to quickly glance and swipe through key bits of information gathered on the watch, somewhat akin to the app dock Apple added to watchOS 3 in 2016.
While Apple’s dock focuses on quick access to whatever the current user’s most recently used apps might be, Google’s solution appears to be optimized for the most commonly used smartwatch features across masses of users. Each Tile has a clean, straightforward design with a single screen full of information, plus actionable buttons to dive into full apps where appropriate.
The initial Tiles cover a nice swath of features: Goals displays your current progress towards fitness goals and lets you start a workout, Next Event uses calendar data to tell you where you need to be, and Forecast spotlights upcoming weather. At launch, there are also Tiles for heart rate monitoring, current news headlines, and setting or monitoring a timer; Google says it will be adding more as time goes on. If there are some Tiles you prefer to see first, you can change the order either on the watch itself or by using the Wear OS by Google app.
As is commonly the case with Wear OS updates, there’s no specific date for Tiles’ rollout to individual watches: Google says they’ll roll out “over the next month,” with unspecified features varying “by phone OS, watch or country.”