Android Wear 2.0 is out there – yes, it is, though for now, in the form of two new smartwatches from LG. And we must say that the Android developers have worked a wonderful job with it. With this update, it comes in a pretty big list of existing Android Wear watches – and future smartwatch releases.
So, in case you already have one of those watches, then you must be indeed desiring this upgrade, which is slowly rolling out over the next few months. However, the question is that if you don’t own them, then will Android Wear 2.0 will succeed in convincing you?
Something that we have learned over the past year is that smart watches have found their purpose. They are good for zillions of things, such as notifications, fitness tracking, and little bits of information on the watch face. If all these interests you, then you will be glad to learn that Android Wear 2.0 is better than ever at all these things, thus quite at par with the Apple Watch in few cases, if not all.
So, here we present everything that you need to know about Android Wear 2.0:
Standalone apps are indeed the biggest change for the Wear ecosystem as now in 2.0 there is no need to have your phone nearby to use apps on your Android Wear device. It uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular instead of depending on a tethered phone or cloud syncing, thus making your smartwatch way more functional even when away from your phone.
Though there are many Wi-Fi enabled smart watches that already connects to Wi-Fi, but it is an exciting update for Android Wear watch owners who also happen to have iPhones. This way they can now download apps straight to the watch, whereas earlier the app support was not available when paired with Apple’s smartphone.
With huge untethering of phone and watch, Android 2.0 now consists of a standalone Play Store. This means now you can browse and download Wear apps right to your smartwatch.
Hence, no need to install the apps on your phone – simply have them on your phone – as 2.0 doesn’t need the two to be paired.
Apple jumped into the arena smart watches with big aplomb and high-flying claims, however, soon it had to pare down its claims about the future of wearable computing to something that’s more simple.
Meanwhile, Google was never the one to make huge claims, but it made a UI that gave us way too many options, such as long-press for one thing, swipe over for another, swipe again for contacts, swipe down for this, up for that, and much more. This way we easily forgot what to do and how to do.
However, now with 2.0, Wear has turned much more simple. Swiping left, and right switches watch faces, which is easier and something you’ll enjoy doing. With swipe up, you get your notifications, with a swipe down a little setting shade. Just press the main button to launch the simple app list, or long-pressing gets you Google Assistant. In case you are keen for something complicated, then you can launch an app or set something like a custom complication on your watch face.
Android Wear smartwatches have now adopted the most recent Android makeover; however, that’s not a simple cut and paste job. The design has been particularly optimized for Wear watches, where the app launcher has been redesigned and created into something that’s more accommodating for round screens. Even the way you interact with Wear has also changed to fit in with the app launcher. Now you can find your apps by pushing the side button that displays them in a slight arc. Even your favorite apps can be placed up the top by holding and dragging them.
At the bottom of the display, you find a new action drawer which provides context-specific actions similar to what you’d get on a smartphone. Even new menus and the like can be controlled easily with Wear 2.0 that supports a rational input.
Google Fit has improved a lot
It seems like Google has truly figured out what people actually what to do with their smartwatches, hence it’s beefing up one of the most integral features: fitness. Google Fit on Wear 2.0 presents a bunch of new exercise options, and few of them even offer guided challenges. Like, you can select “push-up challenge” or “Squat challenge” and the watch will show you a little animation of the proper form and then monitor your actual exercise with its motion sensors.
Wear 2.0 gets Android Pay on board and thus brings in contactless payments to smartwatches that pack NFC such as the Huawei Watch 2.
Same as its Apple and Samsung rivals, you just have to load up your bank card to the device and tap away to buy that coffee or pretzel.
Google has tremendously improved one key feature in Wear 2.0, which is to reply to a message. To get apps custom-designed for Wear, you just have to tap a little reply button right in the notification. For the rest, you can choose to reply with a tap and a swipe. iPhone users are going to have fewer lesser options though.
However, to send the message, Google uses the “Smart Reply” feature which was there in Inbox and Allo. The default replies are contextually aware, thus Slack replies are certain to be about work and messaging replies sent at the end of the working day are certain to be about agreeing to go to the grocery store to pick up veggies.
— OctalInfoSolutionSG (@octalsg) August 11, 2017
To compose your own message, Google has introduced two text-entry options (voice input and emoji).
Characters can be drawn out, and it works quite well. But what comes as the best surprise is the option to use a QWERTY keyboard, which is pretty accurate. This is surely going to impress the users.
Right now you can find Android Wear 2.0 in the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style, the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45, the Huawei Watch 2 and Huawei Watch 2 Classic, Verizon’s Wear24, the Casio WSD-F20, the ZTE Quartz and the Montblanc Summit.
All you need right now is to get the help of best Android app developers out there and be ready to make the most of this Wear 2.0 frenzy.