EditorialsEvent CoverageGoogle IO 2016

Google Overhauls Android Wear, Brings It To Version 2.0

Android on your wrist just got smarter

Two years ago Google announced Android Wear, their own wearable platform that connects directly to your phone. Since then the search giant has been extremely busy trying to improve the technology, and today during their I/O developer conference the company showed off the improvements that they’ve made to the system. Meet Android Wear 2.0.

The biggest change to Android Wear is probably how the watch handles notifications and information. Previously you were fenced in to the notifications that a watch face gave you. With Android Wear 2.0, you can now pin apps directly to the watch face that give you important glancable information, like calories burnt on your last run, the number of emails you have to answer, stock tickers, so on and so forth.

Android Wear 2.0 also benefits greatly from Google’s strides in machine learning. It’s now capable of recognizing handwriting, and is now getting a keyboard for smart replies. Smart replies does exactly what it says – it gives you several possible replies based on the message that you just received. It’s the same technology that’s embedded in Google’s Allo messaging app, and makes for fast replies.

The new update also allows you to go on a run and have the phone track your activity and play music without being tethered to your phone. Android Wear devices can directly connect to WiFi networks (and some even have LTE capabilities) which allows you to be free from your phone if you want to.

Developers can now download a preview of Android Wear 2.0 today while the update will drop sometime this fall.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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