Google announced the Android Wear 2 updates at the I/O 2016, calling it “the most significant update to Android Wear” since its launch in 2014.
Google is bringing a slew of updates to Android Wear 2 that are beneficial to both customers and developers alike. Instead of bringing in a bunch of new features to the platform, it’s also addressing many issues users and developers had with the original Android Wear and have improved them.
One of the new updates is that users can customise the watch faces with multiple Complications, which display features from other apps in the wearable other than the time and the date. Users can add stock market info, notes from to-do lists, and other complications. The UI of the platform has also been tweaked to appear more enhanced and minimal, with darker, more muted colours. It also helps conserve battery life.
The biggest change is the introduction of Standalone Apps to the platform. The wearables will be less tethered to smartphones. This means the wearables will be able to access the internet directly over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular networks without the need of a phone.
Smart replies and updated handwriting recognition have also been integrated into the Android Wear 2 platform. The replies are generated by Google Assistant, or users can awkwardly try to scribble in what they want to say and try to put in punctuation if desperately needed.
The platform is scheduled to launch towards the latter half of this year. As of now, Android Wear 2 has only been demoed on the LG Watch Urbane Second Edition and Huawei Watch.