Android Wear 2.0 is one of the biggest updates since the wear was launched in 2014. Its release date is Feb 2017 which is based on Android Nougat 7.1.1.
It comes with many new features in comparison to older versions which we can see later in detail.
Android Wear 2.0 has the ability to run the native apps without the need of smartphones nearby; it is a great improvement over version 1.5.
Some new hardware features like Standalone apps with Google play store, improved messaging features, Google Assistant Built-in, Watch Face Complications, Smarter Notifications, Built-in Keyboard, Cellular support, Material design, Advanced Fitness tracking, iOS support, Android Pay, etc. come with this feature.
There are many watches which get the 2.0 version; Some of them are Asus ZenWatch 2 & 3, LG Watch Sport, Moto 360 Sport, etc.
Here are the new features which we are going to discuss.
Android Wear 2.0 Standalone Apps:
It is one of the biggest change for Wear. Previously we used to think of smartphones available nearby, but in this version, there is no need of a phone to use the applications. We can directly download the apps from the play store by our smartwatch. If there is a cellular connection in our watch, then we can make calls without thinking about the phone. We will be able to use apps which are built for Android like Google Fit, Google Play Music, Telegram, Uber, AccuWeather, Android Pay, etc.
Android Wear 2.0 Messaging Features
Like Hangout, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger we can respond quickly and smartly or use emoji by our smartwatch. Google provides us the native keyboard for reply towards messages; we can do this by handwriting, drawing an emoji, or typing. When we received the messages simply expand the notification and tap on the “Respond” and use this feature to send the messages. This feature is one of the easy, quick ways to respond towards messages.
Android Wear 2.0 Google Assistant
This version comes with one newer feature i.e. Google Assistant. To ask for help simply hold down the power button in your smartwatch and say, “OK Google” and we will find Google Assistant is available. It is now available only in two languages i.e. German and English, but in upcoming months it will be available in other languages too.
By using Google Assistant, we can find our answers without using our hands. Here, we can ask for weather information, book a table in the restaurant, set reminder, update the shopping list and to-do list, listen to the news, see the upcoming events, get the directions etc.
Android Wear 2.0 Watch Face Complications
Complications are the area of the watch that shows the information other than time. Here, the watch faces are very helpful and personalized where we can set the actions and information on the watch faces from our favorite applications. Here, we are able to see the multiple data from third party apps on a single watch face and users can easily interact with them like the data from Google Fit etc. This means we can get the updates for our meetings, fitness information, alerts, messages, etc. with just a look. By just swiping we can change the watch face according to a place like an office, with friends in a restaurant, or a gym.
Android Wear 2.0 Notifications
In the previous version, we can see when the notifications arrive, it takes the full screen of the watch face with long messages. Now, in this version when we get the cards it shows only a small icon the on watch face without taking too much of space. And at the bottom, we can see the progress bar displayed which shows how many cards are left in the stack which is more manageable and personalized. It gives Android wear a cleaner look and feel. The notification cards are also redesigned, it shows the light text on black background instead of dark text on white background which saves the battery optimization according to Google.
Android Wear 2.0 Material design
With this version, Android wear gets the new design like darker color palette than before, enhanced notifications feature, messaging style as I discussed. It consists of a new launcher where we can scroll the applications around the side of the Watch face instead of in a straight list like before. The icons are neatly designed which looks professional. Vertical layout and visible components like RecyclerView and NavigationDrawer are also added. NavigationDrawer helps to switch the views in an application like in our phone. It appears at the top as a drop-down menu which makes the UI improved and clean.
Android Wear 2.0 Fitness
By using Google Fit app, we can measure the fitness and health level. It tracks the pace, distance, calories burned, heart rate when we are walking, running or cycling. We can also measure the weight- lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. The latest update includes the addition of individual activity counting of fitness. It automatically detects the activities and logout. Day by day it improves the accuracy, and it becomes a better place for fitness lovers. Some of the special Android wear sports device is Moto 360 Sport, Polar M600, etc.
This was a small introduction to Android Wear 2.0 and its new hardware features. As I have already discussed, day by day the features are improving. Here we can see, in this new version the rich notification style, messaging feature, swipe to change the watch face and personalize accordingly, using Google Assistant to ask for help without using phone, directly download the application from play store, make call if having cellular connection, updated Google play music app are all present. These are the new features in Android Wear 2.0 version which has made it immensely popular.
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