Polar to return to Wear OS hints CEO

polar icon logoA Polar Return to Wear OS?

In an interview with Wareable, Polar’s CEO, Sander Werring, hinted that the company is considering a return to Google’s Wear OS platform. The move would mark a significant change away from Polar’s recent focus on its own sports platform. Werring discussed CPU advancements and stated that Polar is “excited” about the potential of Wear OS. Polar’s last Wear OS device, the Polar M600, was launched in 2015, and Werring believes that the technology has now matured enough to make a new Polar Wear OS device a reality.

Best running watch with music Polar M600 Wear OS

Thoughts

While I don’t have any insider information from my Polar sources on this matter, the report suggesting that the company is considering a return to Wear OS seems quite plausible to me.

Compared to seven years ago, Wear OS is now technically significantly more advanced, and Polar likely still possesses the skills and knowledge from its previous venture onto the platform. Back then, the company produced a decent product that I personally enjoyed, I’d hope they can do it again.

In 2023, we can expect the Wear OS watch hardware platform to become more widely available for third parties, following Samsung and Google’s exclusive hold on the market in 2022.

In addition, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Polar or even Suunto release a Wear OS watch this year. It would seem sensible that Polar would produce a running/fitness flavour of a smartwatch, whereas Suunto would more likely build on the maps and adventure side of its excellent Suunto 7 Wear OS watch from 2020.

 

Why Wear OS though?

Polar and Suunto simply do not have the customer base or internal resources to compete with Apple’s truly smart watches. Even Garmin struggles to match the integrated smart features offered by the Apple Watch. Such features include music streaming, onboard maps and routing, contactless payments, home automation control, finding and tracking features, phone-free calling, and high levels of interactivity with messaging apps. Garmin cannot offer all of these features, but Suunto and Polar could if they produced a Wear OS Watch.

The catch is that, while battery life and performance continue to improve every year, Wear OS battery performance is still broadly in line with what the Apple Watch can produce, rather than in line with the multi-week capabilities of non-AMOLED watches and the sweet performance of Garmin’s recent AMOLED watches.

Furthermore, while it may be tempting for the likes of Polar to long for smartwatch sales akin to Apple’s, the reality for many Wear OS sellers fighting each other for a share of a smaller and less lucrative pie (Android) pales in comparison to Apple’s stranglehold on its pseudo-monopoly.

Fun times ahead!

Zwift – Layoffs as 80 more staff go.

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Polar to return to Wear OS hints CEO

  1. battery life is no win for garmin when i’m getting consistently 1%/hour drain even in sleep mode from my 955, with many others experiencing the same. garmin claim great battery life but for many of us the reality is wear os would easily match it.

    wear os provides a reliable software base which is something garmin seem unable to do. since they started trying to provide true smartwatch functionality their bug count has gone through the roof

    1. 100% agree, same here with FR 955, 1%/hour drain, touchscreen issues… this watch is a nightmare. So definitely, claiming the long battery life while reality being completely different, doesn’t help to preserve customers.

    2. 100% agree, same here with FR 955, 1%/hour drain, touchscreen issues… this watch is a nightmare. So definitely, claiming the long battery life while reality being completely different, doesn’t help to preserve customers.

      1. i did have some issues with my 955 battery. check your back light %age setting, backlight timeout setting, and try gps-only (no satiq) for a while. see how that goes. turn off spo2 as well.

  2. M600 had bad support, low battery life. Polar is still looking where to improve but all we need is more functions from v800 and better battery life.

  3. Let’s face it. There is no money in sportwatches. At least, not enough to make shareholders happy.
    So everyone is looking to make more expensive lifestyle watches. They need to be prettier and have more ‘smart’ functions and need to support an over quantify way of life with lots over data (that don’t have to be accurate or useful at all).

    Yes, I’ ranting. And when my ancient fr 935 finally dies I probably buy a shine lifestylewatch and be very happy.

  4. This is the beginning of the end. Even Garmin is in a death spiral. They could still sell algorithm licenses for a few years or introduce subscriptions to use the Flow portal. They did not have a chance against consumer electronic giants like Samsung or Apple. A WearOS based product would be a money graveyard. Like before. On the other hand, I would immediately buy a slim, prettier M430 or V800 (with a monochrome rectangular screen).

    1. polar seems to do ok in Europe by remaining focused/niche.
      i guess the initial rise of Garmin was the beginning of Polar’s end. perhaps if apple is the beginning of garmin’s end then that will free up Polar to do what they are good at 😉
      i don’t think Garmin is entirely in a death spiral yet. it might be starting but we need to wait a few quarters to see. Many geopolitical/social/economic factors at the moment could be extrapolated to see that the entirety of Western civilisation is about to go into a death spiral. (Jeez, I’m depressing mself here! It’ll all work out fine)

  5. I think the real market for Garmin is core sports … anyone that wants a lifestyle watch will go for a Samsung or a iWatch … I don’t care about home stuff and emails and notifications and sms on my Garmin f6 .. I care about by sport apps, great GPS and battery 🙂 .. and here we do have a great market which is totally dominated by Garmin with maybe Coros trying to upset … iWatch Ultra is still no match in terms of battery … so if one looks into sports .. there’s a good market there … if one looks to well-being / lifestyle it’s already overcrowded! Look at Suuntu and Polar .. their screen/display size on their main units is much smaller than most of Garmin devices is terms of display size, display amount of fields etc .. what do you guys think ?

    1. yes, garmin will always excel in core sports uses.
      its problem is that it has already gone way beyond core sports towards ‘smarts’. thus its revenue, profitability and production capacity (etc) rely on the higher levels of highly profitable business.
      it is a house of cards. but i think it is only Apple Watch that can pull some of those cards out to make it topple

  6. I feel Finnish compamy polar try to Avoid what happend to Nokia Symbian when refuse to adapt Android which lead to fall of company. But there different between these two software wear os and android mobile os got support by third-party app the reason for android success while watch os debend heavily on algorithms build with software and garmin is best while wear is far beyond in it is algorithm

  7. This would be great for Polar honestly, but would it be limited to android phones only? Any idea is Google will allow iPhone connection back in?

  8. Chinese brands are certainly putting a lot of pressure on these big companies. I used an M600 for a year and have no good memories of it (poor battery life, small and low-resolution screen, esquesite andriodWear system). It seems to me that such a model was just a Polar experiment and surprisingly that company is planning to do it again. Apple, Samsung and Garmin have their loyal customers and they will survive. With this turnover it could be that Polar is taking its last breaths. I’ve been using Polar products for a long time and I’m hoping this OS change doesn’t happen.

  9. I have a Polar smartwatch M600 and am happy with it, in fact all my bike stuff is Polar M460. I wish them well. I would like to update my M600 before it fails. Power to Europe and Polar.

  10. I yearn for the days of V800… Those days might never return but one can always dream. That GPS accuracy combined with some more modern features and slimmer watch would be pretty sweet.

    1. the current generation of multi-band watches are matching or beating v800/ambit3. it’s taken while but we are there! I suspect any wearOS watch won’t have multiband 😉

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