Looks like Louis Vuitton is planning to launch another smartwatch

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It seems that Louis Vuitton is launching a new version of its Tambour Horizon smartwatches. According to Gadgets and portable devices, it lights up with 24 LED lights. It’s no different than Louis Vuitton’s weird, luminous $ 2,890 speaker that appears to be from a space opera house. There is a lot that could be written about this thing, from its ostentatious design to its straightforward feature set. But the great thing to note here is that the watch can supposedly forgo Wear OS in favor of a proprietary operating system.

Several reports from the ad have been removed or redirected to other content, but remain in Google News.
Screenshot: Song of Victoria

Several other outlets initially made the announcement, including HypeBeast, HypeBae, and To be tidied, but have since been deleted or redirected to other pages. Details of actual hardware and software were vague, and The edge contacted Louis Vuitton and its parent company LVMH, who confirmed the existence of the watch but did not provide further details.

So far, there is no name for this custom operating system. All that has been reported is that it has a touchscreen and a swipe-based user interface. Swiping in different directions is supposed to display notifications, metrics, settings, and, in an interesting twist, a “My Trip” screen that stores maps and boarding passes. Considering that this would be a high fashion smartwatch, there would also be customizable watch face options and fairly basic health tracking. The other odd, but perhaps revealing, detail is that the proprietary operating system was “made for iPhone” but also described as compatible with Android and HarmonyOS.

If this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time that a line of traditionally Wear OS smartwatches has quietly moved away from the platform. The recently announced Moto Watch 100 also decided to run proprietary software called Moto OS, although Motorola-branded smartwatches have always run on Wear OS. Earlier this year, the Huawei Watch 3 and the OnePlus Watch also decided to bet on their own RTOS-based software. It’s too early to tell if this trend will last, but it does suggest that the growing pains of Wear OS may be just beginning.

It was monumental news when Google announced its partnership with Samsung to create a new unified platform that brought together the best of Wear OS and Tizen OS. But while it was an opportunity to unify the fragmented Android laptop space, there were also plenty of caveats. For starters, Wear OS 3 won’t arrive for qualifying smartwatches until mid-2022 at the earliest. Keyword: Eligible. Based on official Google guidelines and announcements from partners like Fossil, it’s pretty clear Android smartwatches powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chips won’t do. That’s a huge hardware dilemma, as only a handful use the current Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. It’s also troubling, given that it wasn’t until last summer that Qualcomm apparently realized it had left drop the ball and announced that he was working on a new portable chipset. Basically, Wear OS still has a hardware issue.

Louis Vuitton’s first smartwatch, the Tambour Horizon launched in 2017, used Google’s operating system
Image: Louis Vuitton

Case in point: Wear OS 3 performed well on Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 range. These smartwatches work on Samsung internally Exynos W920 chip, which revolves around the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and 4100. So if you’re not an Apple smartwatch maker, you have two options. You can go the Fossil route and build a 4100-powered watch that will eventually run Wear OS 3, but not as well as Samsung’s watches. You also have to hope that Qualcomm manages to quickly release a portable chipset that doesn’t rely on insanely outdated technology. Or, you can just get around the headache with a proprietary operating system, at the expense of more advanced features.

The reality is that today, Android users are left behind with few attractive options. Switching to Wear OS 3 was always going to be tricky, but there’s a lot of potential based on what we’ve seen of Wear OS 3 on Samsung watches. However, Samsung is like Apple. Its products work best if you are at the heart of its ecosystem. Unless a Pixel or Fitbit Wear OS watch is powered by a powerful Google chip (which can happen), non-Samsung users will likely have to wait a while for an equivalent smartwatch.

In the meantime, it looks increasingly likely that we’ll see more Android-compatible smartwatches running proprietary software. It is not necessarily bad. The Fitbit Sense, the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro, and the Huawei Watch 3 are all examples of usable smartwatches that have gone this route. Then again, the OnePlus Watch did the same, and it was a buggy nightmare at launch.

Basically it’s all in the air. We will not be able to confirm whether Wear OS will be missing from the new Louis Vuitton smartwatch before its official launch. We also won’t know how Wear OS 3 performs in the long run for a while. The only thing we can say with the utmost certainty is not to buy a new 3100 powered smartwatch.

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