At the Google I/O 2016, the company made a number of key announcements, including the biggest update for its wearable platform, Android Wear. The new Android Wear 2.0 brings a host of interesting features and improvements to the operating system. The update focuses on four important aspects – watchfaces, messaging, fitness and standalone apps.
Watchfaces: Currently, there are thousands of watchfaces available for the Android Wear OS to choose from. With the new update, Google has added complications allowing any watchface to display any data from any app. The complications are completely customizable. You can add data such as number of steps walked, calories burned, stock updates, battery percentage and more to any watchface.
Messaging: The messaging experience on Android Wear 2.0 is completely redesigned. It now comes with smart reply feature, better support for handwriting recognition and a tiny keyboard with swipe to type feature. With handwriting recognition feature, you can use your fingers to sketch big letters on the tiny screen and it can accurately register it. Smart reply for contextual messaging aims to make it easier for replying from the Android Wear device.
Fitness: With a lot of people using Android Wear devices for fitness, Google has added auto exercise recognition feature. The built in sensors can recognize when you start walking or running. You can also play or stream your favorite music without having to connect with your phone, however, LTE enabled smartwatch is required for that. Most importantly, now you can leave your smartphone behind during your workout and these features will still run.
Standalone Apps: Lastly, Android Wear 2.0 also gets support for standalone apps that can connect to the Internet via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. These apps can run without having to connect your smartwatch with your phone.
While the developer preview of the Android Wear 2.0 OS will be available starting today, the official update will arrive in the fall.