Google Drops Wear OS Developer Preview with Support for P
Google today released the first developer preview of Wear OS, the renamed platform for smartwatches and other wearables. Importantly, this developer preview brings with it support for Android P features. Google pointed out a number of items that developers will need to keep in mind when developing for Wear OS. For example, to improve app compatibility, Android P kicks off the process of restricting access to non-SDK methods. Moreover, the dark theme is now the default system theme, something Google says should improve the glanceability of Wear apps. The preview looks to limit background activity in order to improve efficiency. For example, apps will not be able to run in the background unless on a charger. Watch faces and their complications are the only exceptions to this for now. Similarly, this Android P-based version of Wear OS is more aggressive about turning off the Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular radios when the device detects that it is no longer being worn. This too is meant to help reduce power consumption when the wearable is in an idle state. Google says the developer preview is indeed for developers only. It can be installed via manual flash to either the Huawei Watch 2 or Watch 2 Classic smartwatches. Google expects to provide several updates to the Wear OS Developer Preview before a final production build is made available to consumers. Google hopes developers will provide feedback along the way so it can improve the platform.
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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.
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Google today began distributing the latest build of Wear OS to Android-based wearables. The platform, shown off earlier this year, dramatically simplifies the user interface with a focus on health and fitness, notifications, and Assistant-based search queries and commands.