At I/O 2016, Google has just launched its biggest smartwatch platform update, the Android Wear 2.0. The company has made several important updates to the platform which should make your overall Wear experience even better.
The first thing you’ll notice on Android Wear 2.0 is the user interface changes. Google has redesigned its app launcher and notifications, making the launching of apps on Android Wear much more easily. Quick settings is now available on a single screen, whereas before you had to swipe through each option on every screen. There is even a new watch face picker that makes it faster to switch between watch faces.
The new notification design makes it easier to take action on notifications. On the other hand, if you don’t take action when your watch buzzes with a notification, the screen will remain unchanged.
Google is also offering developers a new Material Design for Wearables guide. It covers the new navigation drawer (swipe down in an app) and action drawer (swipe up in an app) components in the Wearable support library and guidance on adopting the new dark color palette.
Another major change of Android Wear 2.0 is the availability of standalone apps. That’s means the smartwatch will no longer need a smartphone in order to install and sync Android Wear apps. Android Wear 2.0 watches can access the internet directly over Wi-Fi, or cellular without a companion phone.
The messaging has been improved as well. You can now write directly onto the screen with handwriting recognition. It will then recognize what you’ve written and send it as a reply. The apps will also do automatic exercise recognition and sync with third-party apps and exchange data via Google Fit.
Finally, Android wear 2.0 comes with a Complications API. With the feature, app developers can choose to publish their data to a wide variety of watch faces and make it easier for users to launch their designed apps from the watch face itself.
The Android powered smart watches will also gain Android N support and have features such as Data Saver, Java 8 Lambda support and new emojis.
Android Wear 2.0 Preview images are now available to download for both the Huawei Watch and LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition from Android developer website.