Wear OS Is Getting A Major Update For Left-Handed Users

Google seems to be putting a much stronger effort into Wear OS 3, even cleaning up some long-standing issues such as supporting left-handed users in upcoming smartwatches. Of course, this isn't the first time Google has addressed the needs of those with left-hand dominance, but the demand for Wear OS to support usage when the watch is worn on the right wrist is a long-running complaint.

Google's first smartwatch operating system was known as Android Wear and was based on Android 5 'Lollipop.' Smartwatches had hit the market earlier, but the strength of the Android smartphone platform meant that Android Wear made a splash with Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC and Asus all partnering with Google to offer devices. By the time the Apple Watch was released, there were several smartwatches on the market, including a variety of Android Wear options, as well as room for new wearable companies like Pebble, which sold an excellent solution for just $99. However, it quickly became apparent that Apple was dominating, and Google tried rebranding as Wear OS and incorporated Google Fit, making it a more viable alternative to the Apple Watch.

Related: Unlocking Android Phones With Wear OS Watches Is Finally Happening

Wear OS 3 is the Android-based wearable system that many users have been hoping for, promising performance improvements as well as longer battery life. It merges Samsung's Tizen operating system with Google's Wear OS, which should result in a wider selection, as well as more refined apps, since developers have one less platform to consider, freeing up time for better optimization. Besides these profound changes, Wear OS is cleaning up some old issues, and a left-handed mode will be available in the future. They were spotted by Mishaal Rahman, whose Tweet included a link to a Google issue tracker about this concern that dates to 2018. A Google developer added a comment that the problem was fixed and the feature would be available on future devices.

After making a keyboard for left-handed users of Android, Google tweeted, 'If being a lefty is wrong, we don't want to be right.' This sentiment is finally showing some consistency with Google adding a left-handed mode to Wear OS. The majority of the U.S. population tends toward right-hand dominance, meaning that the right hand often has greater strength and dexterity. That makes it common to wear a smartwatch on the left wrist, so the right hand operates the watch's buttons, dials, and controls. The Apple Watch offers an option to be worn on the right wrist, but Wear OS doesn't yet.

Of course, a left-handed user can strap a Wear OS 2 smartwatch on the left wrist and use the right hand, but it might feel weird, similar to trying to write with the non-dominant hand. An alternative is to wear the smartwatch on the right wrist with the physical buttons on the thumb side. However, pressing side buttons with the thumb is awkward, and the more natural method is to flip the watch upside down, placing the physical buttons on the left or finger side. Unfortunately, that means the operating system has to flip the screen, which should be very easy to manage. Thankfully, someone at Google finally worked through this issue and resolved it for Wear OS 3 smartwatches, but so far, there is only one, Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4, and it doesn't have this feature yet.

Next: Razer & Skagen Are Launching Two New Wear OS Watches For 2022

Source: Mishaal Rahman/Twitter, Android/Twiter



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