Android Wear 2.0 arriving soon
By Digital News Asia May 24, 2016
- Complete overhaul to user interface
- Two new data input methods added
GOOGLE has announced Android Wear 2.0 with a number of major updates. The UI gets a Material Design-themed overhaul. It enables compatible watches to do more without a phone attached and introduces some new input methods to make communication easier. It is based on the upcoming version of Android, Android N,
One of the biggest additions to Wear 2.0 is the ability for apps to communicate directly over the net via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or if the watch supports it, cellular networks. This completely removes the requirement for a smartphone.
Third parties have been able to make Android Wear watch faces for some time now, but the kind of information they can display is heavily dependent on the watch face itself—even with lots of options, it might be hard to find one that looks good and gives you the glance-able information you want.
Android Wear 2.0 introduces a new API for Watch Face Complications. These allow display of little snippets of extra information that show you things like the current date or moon phases.
Using the raw data from the Complications API, developers can format and style the data to make it look good next to the rest of the watch face. Tapping on individual complications can take you into the full watch app for more information.
Android Wear’s notification cards have been redesigned to be primarily light text on a black background instead of the other way around. Google says this is intended to conserve battery life on watches with OLED screens and to make notifications less obtrusive if they light your watch up in a dark or dimly lit room.
Android Wear 2.0 adds two new input methods: a tiny little swipe-style keyboard that you can use to type and a handwriting recognition mode that lets you sketch out letters on your watch’s screen to spell out messages.
It would be interesting to see how useful these new input methods are on a small watch face.
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