WhatsApp has finally launched its standalone app for smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS, after much anticipation and months-long beta testing.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday announced the launch of the WhatsApp app for Wear OS that will allow users to start new conversations, reply to messages and take VoIP calls without requiring them to have their connected phone with them.
The app, which starts rolling out today for users worldwide, is compatible with smartwatches running Wear OS 3. It allows users to send and receive text and voice messages as well as emojis and quick replies directly from their wrist.
At its developer-focused I/O conference in May, Google announced the release of WhatsApp’s Wear OS app. The app was initially released as a beta version and was anticipated to be publicly available soon after.
During the I/O keynote, Google also unveiled new and improved Wear OS apps from third-party companies, including Spotify and Peloton, and announced updates to its own apps, such as Google Home, Gmail and Calendar, to deliver an updated experience to Wear OS-based smartwatches.
Unlike Wear OS, Apple’s watchOS does not currently have a standalone WhatsApp app. This means that users on the Apple Watch get a limited experience, such as no native option to send messages or make calls via WhatsApp through the smartwatch. Apple, however, does allow you to look at your incoming messages and respond to them via your Apple Watch’s screen if you have enabled appropriate notification settings from your iPhone. Nonetheless, the Apple Watch has continued to dominate the overall smartwatch market for quite some time.
Google is making efforts to take on the Apple Watch’s domination by improving Wear OS, as well as adding new manufacturers and bringing new apps and experiences to the platform. At the I/O keynote, the Android maker declared Wear OS as the fastest-growing smartwatch platform globally, with five-fold growth recorded since the release of Wear OS 3 in 2021.