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Winners and Losers: TicWatch saved by new Wear OS, while gamers brace for advert overload

In a busy news week featuring Apple Watch 7 rumours, Galaxy Z Flip 3 leaks and more, it’s been easy to miss out on the key stories, and Trusted Reviews’ Winners and Losers is here to lend a hand.

As a self-proclaimed smartwatch obsessive, this past week has been fantastic with new info abound regarding the next line of wearables from Apple and Samsung, all of which appears to point towards a massive leap in wearable tech for 2021. For this week’s winner however, I’ve decided to highlight some great news for two watches that are already in circulation (you might be able to guess which ones they are based on the headline).

The world of gaming has also had some good news, with a Director’s Cut of the outstanding Ghost of Tsushima being announced for an August release, while Xbox cloud gaming has finally made its way to iPhone and iPad devices. What sought to undermine all of this good favour is word of a new system designed to implement adverts across the console gaming space. Be afraid gamers, be very afraid.

A product shot of Mobvoi's super affordable TicWatch E3 wearable

Winner: TicWatch

If you’ve been following the Wear OS related drama of late, then you’ll know that a big point of contention emerged when Fossil announced that it has no plans to bring the upcoming revamp of Google’s operating system to its current line of smartwatches.

Between its in-house range and the smartwatches that Fossil makes on behalf of other brands, that’s a huge portion of the Wear OS market that’s set to be left behind once the updated software launches later this year. Just as all hope seemed lost, news emerged this week that Mobvoi will act as the antithesis to Fossil and bring the update to both the TicWatch Pro 3 and TicWatch E3.

As more information comes out about the new Wear OS – now know officially as One UI – and particularly as a reveal for the first watch to use it (the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4) is imminent, it appeared as if all existing Wear OS devices were about to be written off. Thankfully, Mobvoi’s actions have ensured that there is still a reason to invest in a Wear OS device right now.

As luck would have it, the Pro 3 and the E3 are still the only wearables out there making use of the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset, and so it would have been a real shame to see this advanced hardware be neglected. While I still recommend holding off until the end of the year before investing in a new smartwatch, it is great to know that anyone who’s already bought one of Mobvoi’s Wear 4100 watches can still make the most of their devices for some time to come.

Loser: Gaming (as we know it)

As a proud millennial and a member of the ‘cord-cutting’ generation, I’ve always enjoyed the fact that advertisers have a particularly difficult time in reaching people within my age bracket. Having always questioned why anyone would just sit through five-minutes of adverts on terrestrial TV, streaming services and video games have been a wonderful escape in providing entertainment that isn’t interlaced with a barrage of products for sale.

These industries have flirted with product placement (who could forget the abundance of Monster Energy cans in Death Stranding?), but it’s never been so overbearing as to cause offence. These glory days might be coming to an end however after a new system designed to bring adverts to the console space has just been made available for release.

Known as PlayerWON, and owned by Simulmedia, the system will ask players if they want to watch an advert of either 15 or 30 seconds in length, with the ability to receive in-game perks as a reward. Arrangements like this might sound familiar to some as they’re already used in apps like DuoLingo, but while the language learning app is free, PlayerWON could find its way into fully priced games.

Want to know the worst part? EA and Hi-Rez Studios have already agreed to partner with Simulmedia to inject these advertisements into their games. Given that EA already can’t help itself with throwing loot boxes into every game it possibly can, it isn’t difficult to see PlayerWON taking off as another key revenue stream for the company. At this rate, the only way to escape advertisements will be through some sort of offline text – a collection of words that you can simply hold in your hand. If anyone invents that, let me know.

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