Google Brings Standalone Apps to Android Wear 1.0 Hardware
Google this week updated some of its Play Store policies that will improve the availability of apps for older Android-based smartwatches. Specifically, Google has made multi-APK apps available to Android Wear 1.0 devices. Previously, multi-APK apps were only available to devices running Android Wear 2.0. Multi-APK apps include two downloads, one for the phone and another just for the watch. Android Wear 2.0 hardware can download just the watch app, freeing up space on their smartphone, and now so can Android Wear 1.0 hardware. Older Android smartwatches that have their own network connections will be able to run these standalone apps on their watch without having to install and run the app from their handset. This should eventually leader to a greater variety of more powerful apps available to older Android wearables. Google also plans to make changes in the way Android Wear apps are called out in the Play Store. Beginning in January, apps that support Wear notification enhancements but do not have a separate Wear app, and Wear apps that are bundled with mobile apps instead of using multi-APK, will no longer be eligible to be listed in the top charts in the Play Store for Android Wear. Google hopes this will lead to higher quality and more flexible apps for Android Wear devices.
Google Delays Android Wear 2.0 Until 2017
Google today released Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 3 and also shared some details on the timing for the platform's public launch. The biggest addition to the preview operating system is the availability of the Google Play Store on Android Wear devices.
Google Rebrands 'Android Wear' as 'Wear OS by Google'
Google today said it is getting rid of the Android Wear brand that has been a part of its smartwatch strategy for years. Moving forward, Google's platform for wearable devices will be called Wear OS by Google.
Google Launches Android Wear 2.0
Google today officially made Android Wear 2.0 available to device makers and the public. The wearable platform has been in preview status since May 2016 and its release has been delayed for several months.
Android Wear 2.0 Adds Standalone App Support
Google today provided a preview of Android Wear 2.0, which it says was developed with end users in mind. Watch faces, for example, will be able to show data from other apps, such as fitness info.