Google on Wednesday officially launched the newest iteration to its smartwatch operating system and, in cahoots with LG, the first couple of smartwatches to come packing with it out of the box: the much-rumored LG Watch Style and Watch Sport.
Android Wear 2.0 is pushing out to supported devices in the coming weeks. It's the biggest update to the company's wearable OS since launching in 2014, and Google did probably need to delay its launch to perfect the update.
According to Google, the upgraded OS is focused on personalized watch faces, more seamless workouts, brand-new ways to use apps, more ways to connect with people, and integrated Google Assistant support, the company's voice-enabled virtual assistant.
With Android Wear 2.0, users can more freely personalize their always-on watch face with custom information relay and on-screen shortcuts for apps, including stock performance, a user's next scheduled appointments, fitness tracking, and more. Watch faces may also let users hail an Uber ride with a simple tap, start a workout, or make calls. Switching watch faces is easy as swiping, so users can find the appropriate watch face for different situations.
With the preinstalled Google Fit app on Android Wear 2.0, users can track their pace, distance, calories burned, and heart rate during certain activities. They can also measure push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.
Android Wear 2.0 Apps
Another marquee feature of Android Wear 2.0 is standalone apps, ones that don't need a companion phone app in order to function properly. This means developers can build apps directly with the Android Wear 2.0 platform in mind and publish it on the Play Store, which is included in the OS.
For the first time ever, Google has integrated its Assistant to the wearable ecosystem. Because of which, users can ask their smartwatch questions and "get things done" using only their voice. Ask it about the weather, set reminders, make a reservation, and more. For now, Assistant is only available in English and German, but more languages are landing in the coming months.
LG Watch Style And Sport, The First Android Wear 2.0-Powered Wearables
Of course, what's an OS without devices to showcase it? That's what the Watch Style and Sport are for, a pair of Android Wear 2.0-carrying smartwatches churned out from a collaboration by LG and Google.
The LG Watch Style is thin, light, and supports "snap-and-swap" leather and silicone bands. It rocks a rotating power button for navigating the menu, invoking the launcher, and bringing up Assistant.
The LG Watch Sport, meanwhile, is being billed as the most powerful Android Wear device yet. It sports NFC for hassle-free payments, GPS for tracking, a heart rate sensor, and mobile network connectivity. Apart from a rotating power button, there are also dedicated buttons on the watch for Google Fit and Android Pay.
Pricing And Availability
The LG Watch Style retails for $249, but customers who prefer the Watch Sport must shell out $100 more to get it. Those in the United States may get the Watch Style from Best Buy or Google's store, while the Watch Sport can be had from AT&T, Verizon, or Google's store. Both smartwatches come out Feb. 10 and are slated to land on other countries in the coming weeks.
Thoughts about Android Wear 2.0? How about the LG Watch Sport and Style? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!