What’s New in Android Wear 2.0

What’s New in Android Wear 2.0

When Android Wear was first launched two years ago, the watch was very tethered to the phone. Now with the new Android Wear 2.0, being untethered is a higher priority as we now have watches with WiFi and cellular data. Many of the changes in Wear 2.0 are centered around this.

New User Interface

The layout of apps has been redesigned so that you always scroll down to get more content, instead of down, to the side, down, to the side, etc. Notifications now include more advanced replying so you can carry on more coherent and complex conversations. Additionally, a darker UI is being adopted across the whole system. Apps and the system will feature a dark background instead of the blaring white that we’re used to.

Standalone Apps

Apps can now directly access the cloud, bypassing the phone for faster notifications and communication. Watches can now directly download software from the Play Store! This means that that APKs for phones will be smaller, and there won’t be any conflicts with software versions. With these changes, apps can now run on your watch easily without the assistance of your phone.

Watch Face

Complications are anything that isn’t the time, and the term is borrowed from traditional watchmaking. With the new complications API, watch faces can show data from any app. This allows watch face developers to focus on building beautiful watch faces without having to worry about the complicated process of building a fitness tracker.

Messaging

Android Wear 2.0 features new input methods, such as handwriting, keyboard, Smart Reply, and 3rd party IMEs. The manner in which notifications are displayed is much improved, as well, in order to encourage longer conversations. A big part of this is Smart Reply, first seen in Inbox by Gmail.

Fitness

Real time data update notifications, real time gym activity recognition, and real time walking and cycling notifications are all coming to Android Wear 2.0. The type of activity users are performing in the gym will also be recognized. All of the data collected will be available via the complications API for watch faces to use.

 

The Android Wear 2.0 preview can be downloaded at g.co/wearpreview, but beware: it’s buggy.

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