Are you wearing a smartwatch? While traditional watches tell the time, Android Wear watches make the most of your time. Android Wear 2.0 has been formally and officially launched, with Google pulling the covers off the new smartwatch software. The LG Watch Style and the LG Watch Sport are the lead devices for the updated platform and both are available right now, at least in the US.
Google has now released its third developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 and it comes with a big update. Now, you’ll be able to access the Play Store natively from your (flashed) smartwatch. Android Wear is Google’s smartwatch operating system and the main competitor to the watchOS-running Apple Watch. A quick tap on your watch face lets you instantly order an Uber ride, start a workout, or get in touch with your significant other.
Smartwatches were originally pitched as newfangled computing devices that would free us from looking at our phones so often. But they’ve proven to be best at simple things: tracking fitness, showing notifications, and displaying little bits of information on the watchface, such as the current weather or an upcoming calendar appointment. iPhone users are also in line for a much better iOS / Android Wear experience.
The design has been specifically optimised for Wear watches, redesigning the app launcher and creating something that’s more accommodating for round screens. The way you interact with Wear has also been changed to fit in with the app launcher. Instead of the usual left and right swipe to find your apps, pushing the side button will display them in a slight arc. You can even put your favourite apps up the top by holding and dragging them.
Here’s a brief rundown of the best new features of Android Wear 2.0:
- New darker design
- Standalone apps
- Native Google Play store
- Better notifications
- Messaging with quick replies
- On screen keyboard
- Fitness challenges
- Android Pay
- Google Assistant
- Rotational input support
Current watches getting Android Wear 2.0 include: ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart, Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Huawei Watch, LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 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 and TAG Heuer Connected