Android Wear 2.0: Smartwatches are finally maturing

Google unveiled its future generation software platform last month, with some significant new features. As we saw in Mobile World Congress 2017 the different league of new devices gushing the latest software and showcased to the world. Some interesting smartwatches like the Huawei Watch, Fossil Q Series, Moto 360 2 and Tag Heuer Connected are going to be getting/are being shipped with this new update.

This update will bring many changes like  material design-themed overhaul, standalone apps, improvements to watch faces, makes your watch a better tool for texting and  fitness, makes the interface far easier to navigate and puts Google Assistant on your wrist.  Most supreme of all is that it makes everything you do with it faster.

Standalone Apps

One of the tremendous new changes we saw in Android Wear 2.0 is standalone apps. You will no longer need your phone around you to use apps on your Android Wear device. Instead of requiring a connection to your phone, it will commune through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular network.

Certainly, early Android Wear device didn’t have Wi-Fi, let alone LTE connectivity, so this will be more momentous for newer devices. Now even iPhone users can download Android Wear apps directly on their smartwatch, without the restrictions of iOS getting in the way. Also this means that you will be able to go straight to Google Play on your Android Wear device and browse apps that are designed particularly for the watch.

Sending Messages

Sending messages is restricted on the wrist as the screens are so tiny, however that ought to hopefully be relieved somewhat with 2.0 new input methods. A small keyboard is swiped to allow you to type messages, and handwriting recognition can allow you to draw single letters or join words while sending messages.

Replying to message can be a salient part of a smartwatch, and Google has carried out a decent job of improvising that feature in 2.0. For custom-designed apps, you can tap on little reply button in the notification. And for the rest, you can still reply with a tap and a swipe. But, iPhone users will still have fewer options.

When you compose your own message, Google has put in two text-entry options beyond what was already there before. However the bigger surprise is there’s an option to use a tiny QWERTY keyboard. It looks absurd but instead of tapping at crazy tiny keys, you can swipe your finger to type in the words. And yes, it is very much accurate shockingly!

Notifications

People who use an Android Wear watch will know how those Google notification cards overshadow the watch faces making it look a little messy. But after 2.0 things will work a little differently.

So now when you see a card notification, the watch face will show smaller icons instead of huge messages eating up space. Once you raise your watch to activate it, a card notification will be pulled up, then hide back, later you can swipe up from the bottom to go through notifications. A progress bar will show at the bottom, notifying how many cards are left in the stack.

Also redesigning is done as well with the color of the text and the color of the background for a better visibility of notification. According to Google, this can help save battery life.

There are smart alerts too, which will offer you timely reminders concerning stuff you might have forgotten.

Google Assistant

Android Wear 2.0 has gotten easier to interact with by bringing Google Assistant to your wrist. Many original Android Wear experience was dependent on voice control system. Although that is still there, but the whole interface is now better designed to handle alternative inputs.

Google Assistant makes the watch smarter and better. Its right there to meet your wants and needs, deliver any information you want, and take other actions. You have to just command, and it will do it for you. Along with a mic, you’ll now also be able to hear back replies through the speaker of the watch.

Fitness

The fitness experience has been revamped with Google Fit and are offering more activities in Android Wear 2.0. Google Fit on Wear 2.0 has many new exercise options, and few of them are even offering guided “Challenges”.

All you have to do is hit the “Squat challenge” or the “Push-up challenge” and then watch will show you a little animation of the correct form followed by examining your actual exercise through its motion sensors. Apart from that feature, now the data can sync with third party running apps, which means that you can sync your data to your preferred platform.

Watch Faces and Complications

Watch faces has now become easy to customize and easier to change. Unlike before, rather than long pressing on a face to change it, now you can just swipe across the face to change it. A new Complications API has now let third-party developers incorporate data from other apps on watch faces too. It lets you alter watch faces and choose the data you want to show.

The complications you add will pair with the style of the watch face that you’ve chosen so that nothing looks disordered. Tapping on a complication will take you through to that app for the full experience. Altogether, Android Wear 2.0 is a mature OS with simplified design, better input and so many new use cases!

 

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