At long last, Android Wear 2.0 will finally be available soon.
Android Wear 2.0 is Google's follow-up to its own smartwatch operating system. So far, the OS has been mired by delays, conclusively pushing the roll out to 2017. But now, reports say that it will finally be released come early February.
Android Wear 2.0 Out In February
A specific date has not been disclosed, although Google has been notifying developers about the OS' imminent release, which is just a few weeks away. Google has been pinging these folks as a preparatory measure, aiding those who still might have unsupported Android Wear code when the latest iteration steps out its development hump.
What's more, Google is trying to make sure that developers have their apps updated so that they can run in standalone mode, a feature that negates the need to pair the device with a smartphone in order to be functional. One of the hurdles smartwatches face — aside from dismal sales — is that smartphones often weigh in on the equation, adding bulk to the whole smartwatch ecosystem. We've yet to truly see a smartphone-free smartwatch, but at least Google is making headway in that front.
The latest iteration was first announced during the company's I/O developer conference in May 2016. Google announced in September that the OS will be pushed back to a 2017 release to iron out snags that were brought to light via the developer preview builds.
Google's Upcoming Smartwatches
Google, while hard at work on bringing Android Wear 2.0 to the public, is also laboring over two unannounced smartwatches that will be co-created by a manufacturer it rubbed elbows with in the past.
Early reports pit these smartwatches as being branded with Google's namesake, or the more recent Pixel naming scheme, but this is not the case, the company itself has confirmed. These new devices will be considered flagship models, touted as the first hardware launch post-Android Wear 2.0.
Android Wear 2.0 Features
Android Wear's most recent iteration has undergone quite an overhaul, chiefly with distinct changes to the user interface, and improvements to the way users interact with their devices. There's something called glanceable experiences, wherein users are able to customize the device's watch face to display necessary data, such as fitness tracking, and more.
Android Wear 2.0 will naturally get a Material Design revamp, but the integration isn't a simple cut and paste affair. The UI will be specifically rendered as to optimize the smartwatch experience, resulting in apps that are catered to round screens, much like Samsung's Tizen-based smartwatches.
Google is also trying to make messaging on a smartwatch a thing, despite the tiny screens of smartwatches. Luckily, Google has a few tricks up its sleeve in the form of new input methods that will make messaging easier.
Apart from smart replies, which are context-generated responses, Google will also include a small keyboard for typing. If that doesn't suffice, there's also handwriting recognition as an alternative. A cumbersome task on paper, sure, but one that deserves to be tested once it's finally out.
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