Over the last year or so we have seen a large number of manufacturers pledge their support to the newest wearables platform that has been developed by Google. However, dismal sales numbers and lack of functionality have given all of these manufacturers cold feet. We have seen that most companies that had initially pledged their support have stated that they have no intentions of making more Android Wear smartwatches in the near future. The likes of Motorola and Huawei have shelved all their plans for any future smartwatches already. The only company that has a new watch coming out is LG.
Having said that, Google has delayed the launch of its 2.0 platform for quite a while, but it was finally released on 9th February. Here are the top new features that you should be excited about:
1. Standalone Apps finally come to Android Wear
With Android Wear 2.0, developers can build standalone Wear apps that function without the need for a paired phone app. You can now download apps straight to your watch. This helps the users of Android Wear who use an iPhone. Since they do not have Android phones, installing any app on the watch would mean endless headaches. This also means that you can straight up use your watch without the need of having your phone with you all the time.
2. Messaging is changing
It is difficult typing out messages on our phones itself, so with a screen that is barely 2 inches wide, sending an accurate message is difficult. With Wear 2.0, Google has finally added its google keyboard to the Android Wear platform. This means that you can now swipe away at your replies from just your watch. Google has also added its learned phrases from Gmail on to Wear, so you don’t have to worry about teaching another platform all over again. Also, third party keyboard support is now also enabled. This means that you will be able to choose your own keyboard.
3. Android Pay
This update brings support for wireless payments via Android Pay to the Android Wear platform. With Android Pay, you simply add your bank card to the device and pay wirelessly at any POS terminal that supports Android Pay using NFC.
4. Notifications Galore
In addition, Wear 2.0 includes the Complications API, which gives watch face and app developers another way to surface glanceable information. Wear 2.0 also includes updated notification support, which makes it easier for users to read and interact with app notifications. When you raise your watch to activate it, it pulls up the card notification before it hides away again. This is similar to the peek notification present in Moto and Nexus and Pixel devices. The ability able to swipe up from the bottom to go through your notifications is still present.
The notification cards themselves have been redesigned as well, to show primarily light text on a black background instead of dark text on a white background. Google says that this should help save battery life and lessen the intrusion of bright notifications. Also, a dark colour will be much easier on your eyes that the bright undertones that material design is normally associated with.
5. Hi! How can I help?
The 2.0 update also brings over Google Assistant to the Android Wear platform, which means that you will be able to get quick answers to your questions just saying “Ok, Google”.
- Asus ZenWatch 2 & 3
- Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
- Casio PRO TREK Smart
- Fossil Q Founder
- Fossil Q Marshal
- Fossil Q Wander
- Huawei Watch
- LG Watch R
- LG Watch Urbane and 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