First teased at Google I/O, Meta just announced that WhatsApp is officially rolling out to Wear OS smartwatches starting today, provided you have a Wear OS 3 smartwatch.
The app itself isn’t complicated. It’ll allow users to start new conversations, reply to messages, and take calls from the wrist. They’ll also be able to respond with voice messages, emoji, regular text, and quick replies. And if you have an LTE-capable Wear OS 3 watch, you’ll be able to respond to messages without needing your phone nearby.
The main thing here is timing and reach. For starters, the Samsung Unpacked event is next week, where we’re expecting to see the new Galaxy Watch 6 and, if rumors are to be believed, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. There’s a good chance that Samsung’s new watches will be the first to run Wear OS 4 — just as the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup was the first to debut Wear OS 3. Releasing the Wear OS app now builds momentum going into Unpacked while also making Wear OS more appealing to WhatsApp’s 2.24 billion active users. Meta also gets to expand its wearable presence on an established platform, especially since it shelved its own smartwatch ambitions last year.
This is also a continuation of Google’s push to bolster Wear OS’s third-party app ecosystem. Alongside WhatsApp, the company noted at I/O that Spotify is set to release new Tiles for its Wear OS app this year, while Peloton also recently launched its own Wear OS app.
In other words, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.