Google announces Android Wear 2.0 for fall


Get ready for an even smarter and more streamlined approach to Android Wear. Google today announced the 2.0 version of its wearable platform, giving us a glimpse of things to come. Due this fall, the Android Wear 2.0 experience requires less interaction on behalf of the user for certain tasks.

Say, for instance, that you want to go for a jog. Today you would open an app and tell it to start tracking the workout. The next release, however, automatically recognizes what you are doing and begins tracking things for you in the right app. Once you’re done, the watch tallies up stuff like calories burned, distance, and more. How? The new Google Fit tech inside Android Wear will do the heavy lifting.

Should your watch have built-in 3G or LTE radios, it will be able to directly access the internet. Indeed, it will allow users to install apps straight to the watch without interfacing with a phone. Additionally, it will let wearers make calls, reply to texts, and stream music to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Messaging is getting a punch-up, too. Watches with Android Wear 2.0 will feature a swipe touch keyboard that autocompletes and also allows for handwriting. This way you can send replies and messages to contacts without worrying about your phone.

Another key feature being added to Android Wear is the ability to scroll through apps by circling the edge of the display. Presumably this cuts down on taps and swipes and gets users the stuff that matters most more quickly.

As for watch faces, it will be possible to place notifications and actionable buttons on any design. Also on the horizon is a darker theme to the overall interface. The benefit here, naturally, is to help extend the battery life and keep wearers from taking off the watch.

Android Wear 2.0 will first launch as a developer preview later this week. According to Google, the various watch makers can decide which models receive the update.