Smartwatches and wrist-wearable devices may be classed as a relatively new market that’s on a hype today, but as you might expect. Google, the Alphabet-owned company’s Android Wear platform has ever since been consistently grown in stature and support, originally debuted two years ago has received a new update version 2.0.
For Android Wear a new updated version has been announced today to the wearable platform, which is the biggest upgrade yet. Unveiled Wear 2,0 with new design, standalone functionality and the platform now supported by multiple brands and is installed directly on more than 100 different wrist-wearable models that find a place on your hand of wearers all over the globe.
The recently announced Android Wear version 2.0, which is one of the great things about conferences like Google I/O or Apple’s WWDC is that developers and registered testers generally get a glimpse access to any newly unveiled software ahead of it actually going public.
This time around is no different, with Android Wear 2.0 developer preview being seeded to dev’s during the event in order for them to test their current applications for compatibility, and to introduce new apps and experiences that are built on top of the new inclusions found within the latest version. And speaking of those new features, here’s what is new.
There are three new highlights in the platform: a new, darker user interface with an all-new carousel app launcher for those who prefer a more mysterious look over bright and breezy; intelligent message replies that provide suggestions when you receive a message and a new handwriting and full QWERTY keyboard; and the new third-party app complications that can be used with both Google’s and other alternative watch faces.
First and foremost, there’s the shipping of new UIs for Android Wear that adopts Google’s Material Design for wearables. Also expanded notifications and above mentioned things. Nevertheless, then Apple Watch-like Complications coming to Android Wear with version 2.0 which will basically let you set specific functionality from apps right on the watch face.
Additionally, Google has expanded the platforms fitness capabilities with automatic activity detection for strength training exercises, such as bicep curls and dead-lifts. Google Fit platform gets an update too, with the ability for fitness apps for now “able to detect (with consent) when the user starts walking, running, or biking”, and then automatically launch that application. The new user interface, which takes more advantage of hardware buttons on watches, is much more responsive and easier to navigate than earlier versions.
From an app perspective, there’s now direct network access to the cloud, along with the ability for applications to run standalone and function directly on the Android Wear device, even when the Android or iOS phone isn’t connected within distance.
Note: Apple had introduced this similar “native” app functionality with watchOS 2.0 at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference.
What’s more interesting is that the Android Wear 2.0 also introduces support for keyboard. When an operating system installed on a wrist watch here, how exactly useful keyboard support will be remains to be seen given the fact how small they will actually have to be. So Google will ship with its own swipe-based keyboard, but developers will also have the option of rolling their own solutions.
Android Wear 2.0 is available today for developers and will be launched publicly later this year. Takes advantage of new technologies like LTE connected watches. Developers have immediate access to the developer preview of Android Wear 2.0, with public release for everyone else coming this fall.