Back in May 2016, Google announced the Wear 2.0 for wearables, and soon after released developers preview of the operating system. Google initially aimed to release the OS by the end of 2016 but in October it announced that Android Wear 2.0 developers preview was being extended till 2017, when people assumed an early January 2017 launch. During this back and forth, the release timeframe has been extremely vague. However, a recent email sent by Google has offered some clarity on this, confirming an early February release of Andriod Wear 2.0.
In its email to developers for its wearable platform, Google revealed that the next iteration of Android Wear will be out in early February, and developers should update their apps to take advantage of all the new features.
The development comes shortly after Google confirmed its plans to launch two flagship smartwatches running on Android Wear 2.0. According to reports, the two smartwatches are codenamed Angelfish and Swordfish. While Angelfish is believed to come with a diameter of 43.5mm with three physical buttons on the side, and features like GPS, LTE, and a heart-rate monitor. The Swordfish, on the other hand, is smaller with a diameter of 42mm and only comes with one crown button on the side. This is believed to be the affordable variant and won’t come with features like GPS, LTE or heart-rate monitor. ALSO READ: Google to launch 2 smartwatches running on Android Wear 2.0 in early 2017: Report
Both upcoming smartwatches will run on Android Wear 2.0, which will be rolled out in February. Besides improvements and new features, the OS will also bring a dedicated Play Store featuring apps for smartwatches. Users will be able to browse recommended apps in the home view and search for apps using voice, keyboard, handwriting, and recommended queries, basically to facilitate users to find apps easily. By adding a dedicated Play Store, Google is also ensuring that users can opt for smartwatch-only apps, and don’t necessarily need to download the same app on the smartphone too.
Google had said that the wearable exclusive store was added after developers requested to make it easier for users to discover apps. “So we ran studies with users to find out where they expected and wanted to discover apps––and they repeatedly looked for and asked for a way to discover apps right on the watch itself. Along with improvements to app discovery on the phone and web, the Play Store on the watch helps users find apps right where they need them,” Google said. ALSO READ: Google Assistant to soon get support for keyboard input, gestures
Other features for developers that Google announced include improvements to complications and support for contextual smart replies, inline action for notification, which Google had even announced previously that would be coming to the Android Wear 2.0.