Google finally introduced the Android Wear 2.0 update for the wearables. After several months of delay, Android Wear 2.0 upgrade arrives with a host of important features and tweaks. This update changes the overall look and feel of the Android Wear and also adds a host of much-demanded features. Do note that some of these features are hardware dependent. Let’s take a closer look at the most significant features of the Android Wear 2.0 update.
With Android Wear 2.0, the smartwatch apps would be independent and can function even if your phone is in the other room. You will only need your phone around when data between a smartwatch and the phone need syncing With this Google is not only making smartwatches more independent but also bring a lot of iPhone owners on board. Users can now browse for the smartwatch apps from the Google Play Store and hit download to have them installed on the watch directly.
Google Assistant support
You can act like Tony Stark and speak to your watch to get things done using the Google Assistant. From reserving a table at a restaurant to adding items to a shopping cart, Google Assistant will help out. All you have to do is press the power button and say – Ok Google. The smartwatches with 4G LTE support work effortlessly over mobile internet. Meanwhile, other watches will need to tether connection from the paired smartphone. Initially, the Google Assistant will support voice commands in English and German only.
The watch faces are about to get more complicated yet intuitive to show more information than just the time or weather. In a way, the watch faces will act like home pages to present data from the other apps as widgets. Also, you can have more than one watch face to swipe and change the type of data. For instance, you can select a watch face showing more health-activity related data as you step into the gym. Also, the data presented on the watch app also act as a shortcut to the actual app. Users will able to choose their favourite watch face and customise it by adding Complications to it. The watch faces are about to get a bit more complicated.
Google will add the Smart Reply feature to respond to the messages and social media updates quickly. The Smart Reply offers three quick responses automatically populated using Google’s machine learning algorithms after assessing your texting style. Apart from that, you can always use the new keyboard input option or simply let it recognise your handwriting by typing a letter at a time. Also, the Android input method framework integration opens up doors for other methods of input in the future.
Google Fit integration
Better integration of Google Fit allows the smartwatches to detect and determine the kind of activity the user is doing. Accordingly, the smartwatch will switch to relevant app. For instance, it can detect if you are walking or riding a bike. The Google Fit app also includes a new set of options and challenges for a particular set of fitness activities like push-ups or squats. Of course, the additional sensors would be required to track different kinds of activities. This upgrade also brings support for a larger variety of sensors such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, LTE, NFC, Heart rate sensor and more.
Fresh Navigation and Material Design support
Google has updated the system UI and made it simpler for all the users. Swiping left and right will let you switch between watch faces. The notifications are expandable and launch the relevant app. The overall UI carries a darker tone and makes the best of the circular displays. Along with that, the Wear apps will now follow the Material Design language to be compatible and consistent with the new System UI.
Android Pay support
With the integrated NFC chip, the smartwatches will be able to leverage Android Pay in the supporting countries. Do note that this would require NFC chip and other implemenations in the smartwatch. That would make things a tad easier to pay, and you won’t even have to remove anything out of your pocket.
Apart from all these features, there are several tweaks and under the hood improvements. Most importantly, the Android Wear 2.0 will be able to make the best out of the Android 7.0 Nougat such as emojis and Data saver.
Google will start rolling out Android Wear 2.0 in fall to the masses while enthusiasts can always check the Developer Preview.[Source: Google Blog, Android Developers Blog]