Android Wear Officially Rebranded Wear OS

Wear OS by Google Site

After finding indicators in the latest beta of Google Play Services, it looks like the branding of Android Wear has officially moved to Wear OS.  Google launched a new site this morning for the platform, removing the Android Wear name in favor of the new one.

Wear OS by Google Site
Wear OS by Google Site

As indicated before, this rebranding makes a lot of sense.  Google has been slowly separating things from the Android name, instead making them Google branded or generic.  The best example of this is the recent change from Android Pay to Google Pay.  For Android Wear, this makes sense because Wear devices have long been compatible with iPhones thanks to the Wear app.

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Android Wear Looks to be Getting a Name Change – Wear OS

New Wear OS References in the Google Play Services Beta

It looks like Google is once again set to rebrand an Android named product or service to something more Google generic.  In the latest beta of Google Play Services, version 12.5, references to Android Wear have been changed to Wear OS, complete with a new “W” icon and everything.

New Wear OS References in the Google Play Services Beta
New Wear OS References in the Google Play Services Beta

The change was first spotted in name only in the version of Play Services that came in the Android P Developer Preview.  But a new beta rolled out to those in the beta channel for the app and you get the above changes when using the Nearby feature of Android.

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Google I/O Schedule Points to Heavy Android and Google Assistant Presence

Android Droid Logo

Google has released the first schedule for this year’s Google I/O event in Mountain View and it is evident that Android and Google Assistant are going to be the headliners.  The schedule has multiple Android and Assistant events over the three-day conference with everything from advanced coding sessions to general information sessions.

Some of the events slated for I/O include:

  • 10 tips for building better actions (Google Assistant)
  • An introduction to developing Actions for the Google Assistant
  • Build an AR app with the Poly Toolkit for Unity (Android)
  • What’s new in Android Wear

That’s just a few of the dozens of sessions on tap.

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Android Wear App Update Has Begun Rolling Out

Android Wear 2.9 Unread Notification Indicators

The Android Wear 2.9 app is now rolling out to compatible devices.  The update, which was announced last month, brings new notification dots to watch faces as well as improved glanceability to notifications, particularly those with long titles.  This update is to the phone app itself which, in turn will trigger an OTA update for your wear device.

Interestingly, my Ticwatch E was already running the latest Wear 2.9 build for watches prior to my phone app being updated this morning.

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Android Wear Google App Update Brings Fix to OK Google Detection

OK Google in Android Wear

An update to the Google app on Android Wear has resolved a significant bug with the OK Google detection on wearables.  The issue was that if you had OK Google detection enabled on your watch, overall performance of the watch would be impacted.  Watches were either laggy or they would stutter through things as you navigated the watch interface.

This seems to have been fixed with the 7.18.50 release of the Google app for Android Wear.  According to Android Police, once you have this update, you should be able to turn on the OK Google detection and not impact the overall performance of your watch.

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Android Wear 2.9 to Bring Oreo Style Unread Notification Indicators

Android Wear 2.9 Unread Notification Indicators

Today the Android team in Google released a new Android Wear SDK and emulator update for developers.  The new tools bring the SDK to version 2.2.0 and with it come several new watch face elements to the platform.

Those elements are aimed to be in the next consumer version of Wear, version 2.9.  Perhaps the biggest news of those new face elements will be unread notification indicators that can be coded into the watch faces.

Notification is a vital part of the Wear experience. As a result, starting from the next consumer release of Wear (version 2.9.0), a dot-shaped indicator will be displayed by default at the bottom of the watch face if there are new, unread notifications.

Developers of watch faces will have several options on how to implement the new feature.

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Android Wear Update Brings Visual Improvements and Accessibility Improvements

Android Wear 2.8 Update

A new update to the Android Wear app is rolling out in the Play Store today, bringing some visual improvements as well as improvements for accessibility users.  The update to the app is version 2.7.0.180439970 which will then have build 2.8.0.181612071 to send to your Wear watch.  Once you get the new app update, you’ll need to also perform an update on your watch itself.  You should have a notification that there is a new update to the Android Wear app on the watch itself.

As for what is new, there are improved typefaces and fonts in this build.  The aim of these is to improve glanceability (i.e. readability) when you glance at your watch.  Also, the base theme for your watch’s menu will appear noticeably darker.  This is likely a part of the effort to improve glanceability.

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The Tech & Apps That I Use Every Day

Acer Chromebook 14

One of the most common questions that I get asked, both here on the site, as well as by friends and family has to do with the hardware and software I use every day.  It is a fair question and one that people ask out of both curiosity as well as doing a “stare and compare” with their own tech.

I’ve always said that you need to use the right technology that works for you.  That may be an Android Phone or an iPhone.  That may be a Windows PC or a MacBook Pro.  Whatever the technology, it has to get the job done for you and for me, this list of hardware and software, works for me.  I encourage readers to look into what I use to see if it fits their needs but at the end of the day, it is a personal use case as to whether it will or will not.

I’ve broken this article into two parts.  The first is the primary hardware that I use each day with the second focused on the apps that I use on them.  The apps could be on my phone, my tablet or my Chromebook and I’ll note that as I go along.  As for hardware, I’ll cover what I use every day as well as other devices I use from time-to-time.  You’ll note that very little of what I have is new and that’s on purpose.  I tend not to buy the latest and greatest because I, like most of you reading this, are looking for value in my purchases or I use things for a long time before replacing them.

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