Google has released five Developer Previews of Android Wear 2.0 before bringing the final form with all new features that have been tested by users. The smartwatch market is expanding, new models are becoming part of people’s lives and Google had to make some improvements to the operating system, in order to keep up the pace with users’ needs. Below we’ll talk about the new features and changes brought to Android Wear 2.0.
Smartwatch owners will be able to install standalone applications, which means that they will no longer need their phones to share data between the two platforms. Thanks to Android Wear 2.0 update, smartwatches will become more independent and users will be able to browse and download apps over WiFi without needing to install their complementary version on the phone first. According to David Singleton, vice president of Android Engineering at Google “Android Wear 2.0 focuses on making smartwatch experiences better and faster – including watch faces that bring glanceable data, fast and fluid messaging, and a new fitness experience that helps you track workouts and stay motivated with music.”
Developers are allowed to place data from their apps on watch faces, which will appear on top of the hours and minutes. Also, users will have the possibility to customize these faces just like a homepage that contains widgets from various sources.
Google’s intelligent personal assistant is now available on smartwatches and users can give voice commands to add items to shopping lists, set calendar reminders, reply to messages or ask questions. In order to use Google Assistant, smartwatch wearers will hold down the power button, or say “OK, Google”. Currently, only English and German languages are supported, but Google will add more soon.
Instead of making payments using Apple Pay or Samsung Pay on their smartphones, users will do this on their smartwatches that have a built-in NFC chip. Android Wear 2.0 will use Android Pay in select countries, where wearers will simply hold the watch next to the terminal and wait until the transaction will be approved.
Users will notice a new app launcher and a circular scrolling gesture that will flick between objects. Google has introduced a Navigation drawer at the top of the screen which will make it easier to navigate between app views, and an Action drawer at the bottom of the screen, which is for allowing users to choose a list of actions that have to do with the current usage context.