Google is preparing to roll out the next major Android Wear Smartwatch OS update- Android Wear 2.0.
Google has released three major updates to Android Wear in the past two years. In this next version you can expect a design overhaul, standalone apps, and improvements across the board. We will reveal all the details, devices which will be upgraded, and the highly anticipated release date!
Standalone apps are the biggest change for the Wear ecosystem to date, and it’s a game changer. In Android Wear 2.0 you don’t need your phone nearby to use apps on your Android Wear device. Using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular instead of depending on tethered phone or cloud syncing, your smartwatch now remains much more functional away from your phone. Most Wi-Fi enabled smartwatches can already do this but for Android Wear users who happen to also have iPhones this is huge. It means you can now download apps straight to the watch, making up for the previous lack of app support available when paired with Apple’s smartphone.
Google say to expect hundreds of standalone Android Wear apps for the launch period, with existing apps developed for Wear 1 still supported and working.
Android Wear 2.0 will include a standalone Play Store for your smartwatch, which means you will be able to browse and download apps directly to your smartwatch. This also means that the apps are installed just to your watch, not your phone, as this version doesn’t require the two to be paired.
The new design for 2.0 has been custom made for Wear watches. The app launcher has been resigned for rounded screens, and the new menus are much easier to control supporting a rotational input.
The watch faces have also had a major revamp. Apple’s Watch OS has excelled at making the watch faces more useful to the user. Now, in Wear 2.0, you will be able to view multiple data from third party apps on the watch face, much like ‘widgets’. Google are calling the new watch face widgets ‘complications’.
Wear 2.0 has a new input method with a small keyboard which can be swiped to let you type out messages, and handwriting recognition will let you draw single letters or join words to send messages. Google is offering its own native keyboard but is also opening the door for third-party keyboard apps for alternatives.
Wear 2.0 has seen a big improvement with the Google Fit app integration, including the addition of individual activity counting within Fit, e.g. press up reps.
Now listening to music whilst working out is easier than ever! You can lunch your music straight form the home screen, whether its from a workout playlist, Spotify or another music service, without your phone being on! Also when you work out with a cellular- connected Android Wear device, you can still use the calling and messaging functionality.
Android Wear 2.0 succeeds in bringing Google Assistant to your wrist, much like it brought it to the Google Pixel. You'll be able to, hopefully, reply to messages and get directions simply by saying "OK Google". We will be testing the updates as and when we download them to devices.
Release Date and Upgrade –
Google delayed the Android Wear 2.0 release date to 2017, and on 8th February Google unveiled the new wrist-based OS alongside new smartwatches from LG - the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style.
However, existing smartwatches will begin to get upgraded starting on 15th February.
Here's a list of devices confirmed for the update:
- Asus ZenWatch 2 & 3
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Casio Pro Trek Smart
- Fossil Q Founder
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Wander
- Huawei Watch
- LG G Watch R
- LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE
- Michael Kors Access Smartwatches
- Moto 360 2nd Gen
- Moto 360 for Women
- Moto 360 Sport
- New Balance RunIQ
- Nixon Mission
- Polar M600
- TAG Heuer Connected