With all of the rebranding efforts of Android Wear to Wear OS by Google, and an update to the Wear OS app for Android, the next question is which watches will get updated to reflect the new branding. Well, it seems, a fair number of them.
Google has taken to the renamed Android Wear forum to announce which watches will get updated. While the time frame of a “the coming weeks” was provided, there was no further timeline provided or which watch will receive the update first.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 22.214.171.124439970 which will then have build 126.96.36.199612071 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.