Google has announced months ago about the Android Wear 2.0 update for Android Wear devices, and now it is confirmed that the software would arrive by early February of 2017. Thanks to an email sent to developers by Google, we now know when the update will release.
Android Police obtained an email sent to Android developers from Google. It specifically noted Android Wear 2.0 would launch "in early February 2017", before listing items developers should know prior to updating their existing apps to the update.
A screenshot of the email is here:
Google has confirmed to ZDNet that the content of the email is accurate. In other words, Android Wear 2.0 will definitely launch in early February, bringing a built-in Play Store, the ability for apps to connect to the internet through Wi-Fi, new app launcher, support for complications on watch faces, and more.
Several watch makers recently unveiled new Android Wear watches at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, so it makes sense that Google would hurry the release. Google will also be launching two new flagship smart watches packed with Android Wear 2.0, according to Jeff Chang, product manager of Android Wear at Google. In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Chang said that the new watches will be the flagship Android Wear 2.0 devices and will be the first ones to launch along with the new platform.
Here are the features which are expected to be in the new update:
One of the biggest new changes coming to Android Wear is standalone apps.
With support for standalone apps, a nearby phone will not be required to use apps on your Android Wear device. Instead of requiring a tethered connection to your phone, it will communicate through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular and be able to do more. It is not only beneficial for the Android Wear users but also for the iPhone users. They'll be able to download apps directly to their watches.
Early Android Wear watches didn't have Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity, but newer watches will have the features & they don’t have to be dependent on phones.
Google Play Store
Google recently revealed in their third developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 that it includes a standalone Google Play Store.
That means the final software will let you download apps directly to your watch instead of queuing them on your phone, as developers can now develop apps that live just on the watch.
Android's design language is coming specifically optimized for Android Wear watches. A redesign of the app launcher will work with round screens, and there are new ways to interact with the app launcher. For instance, instead of a left or right swipe, you'll push the side button to see apps displayed in an arc. Material design will also add an action drawer to the bottom of the display.
The Material design will also add an action drawer to the bottom of the display.
A new Complications API will now let third-party developers include data from other apps on their watch faces.
You'll be able to tweak these watch faces, too, and choose which data you want to show. Google said any watch face will be able to show data from any app. They can show, for instance, your calories burned, steps taken, incoming messages, or whatever. Also, tapping on individual complications will launch the full watch app for more information.
When you see a card notification, the watch face will show smaller icons instead of massive space-hogging messages. When you raise your watch to activate it, it will pull up a card notification then hide it, and you can swipe up from the bottom to go sift through notifications. A progress bar will appear at the bottom, revealing how many cards are left in the stack.
The cards have also been redesigned. Light text on a black background can be seen instead of dark text on a white background.
Android Wear 2.0 adds two new input methods: a swipe-style keyboard and handwriting recognition.
The handwriting mode will let you draw out letters on your watch’s screen in order to write messages. Previously, sending messages was much more limiting. Google said it will offer its own native keyboard, but it's also allowing third-party keyboard apps for you to choose from. You'll even have access to new Smart Replies.
It gives you the option of three possible responses to quickly reply to a contact. These smart replies will be generated on the watches themselves. And finally, responding messages no longer means you have to swipe to another screen because with Android Wear 2.0, you'll be able to tap on the message and view more data before deciding on sending a smart reply or whatever.
Google has improved fitness in Android Wear 2.0. It is getting automatic activity recognition and a Google Fit API, so data can sync with a running app. Google's also expanding the ways you can listen to music.
Not only will apps will be able to now detect when you begin walking, running, or biking, but because apps can now be installed right on the phone, Android Wear watches with built-in LTE support can start Spotify and stream music from the cloud right to your Bluetooth headset without you having to be tethered to a phone. Also, third-party apps can now exchange data through Google Fit.
That means your Strava cycling data can now show up in your Fitbit companion app.