On Thursday, Google announced the “System Version: H Update” for Wear OS, with a handful of features focused on battery life. What the company failed to mention is that the new naming scheme coincides with the release of Android 9 Pie for wearables, and that it’s already rolling out for some devices.
The ‘H’ stands for Hematite — a mineral form of iron oxide — according to a post in the Android Building group. The Android 9 Pie Wear OS developer preview was announced in March with a focus on smart battery saving features.
Google subsequently toned down those features at I/O 2018 with Developer Preview 2 and again later in the year. The underlying functionality is present in the final release with a battery saver mode that only displays the time and date, as well as a deep sleep mode if the watch is not worn.
Additionally, powering off your device is now two-step process with the power button, while Smart App Resume makes it easier to get back to using your applications.
Google officially noted that the “update will be progressively rolling out over the coming months.” However, it is already available this week for some wearables. There are reports of Fossil Gen 3 devices, like the Q Venture and Q Explorist, receiving Android 9 Pie with the Build number format serving as another confirmation.
One trick (via Reddit) that appears to trigger the upgrade is constantly tapping the “System updates” button. This worked on one watch (Fossil Q Venture) that we tested.
Google, nor manufacturers, have yet to officially confirm what devices are getting updated.
Your device may not immediately be eligible for this update and will be determined by your watch manufacturer. Some functionality may vary by device.
There are some changes in Settings — mainly the use of Google Sans — and organization, including a new “General” section. The Versions screen has also been re-ordered with the new “System version” section. However, the bulk of features were introduced via an earlier Wear OS 2.1 update that added quick access to Assistant and Google Fit.