With Android Wear 2.0, Google is ready to compete with Samsung's Tizen and Apple's watchOS
Android Wear 2.0, the second iteration of Google's wearable platform is now official. With Wear 2.0, Google is making Android a first class citizen in comparison with Samsung's Tizen-based Gear S3 and Apple Watch running watchOS. Google is debuting Android Wear 2.0 on LG's new smartwatches named Watch Sport and Watch Style.
Google showcased Android Wear 2.0 at the company's annual developer conference in May 2017. Since then, the platform has been delayed multiple times and its availability comes at a time when wearables are losing interest among consumers. The biggest change coming with Android Wear 2.0 is that the smartwatches running the wearable OS can act as standalone devices. The smartwatches can work with Android phones as well as iPhones (although with limititations). Android Wear 2.0 also brings native support for wireless network and contactless payment powered by Android Pay.
Android Wear 2.0 has been redesigned from ground up and Google has made navigating the interface simpler than ever before. Now, swiping left and right changes the watch faces while swiping up brings all the notifications. The settings menu can be accessed by swiping down. Google has also added support for home button to act as an app launcher while long pressing the main button activates the Google Assistant.
With Android Wear 2.0, Google Assistant is finally moving from smartphone to smartwatches. Like Pixel devices, Google Assistant can be activated by saying "Ok Google." The Google Assistant on Android Wear is available in English and German but Google says more languages will be available in the coming months.
Android Wear 2.0 also brings support for smart replies, a feature currently available on the company's Inbox and Allo app. Wear 2.0 shows context aware replies to messages similar to Inbox and users can also reply by using an on-screen keyboard. The keyboard supports swipe gestures and autocorrect.
The wearable platform now supports Android Pay for contactless payment using NFC. Google Fit on Wear 2.0 offers more exercise options while watch faces can be tweaked according to user's liking. Google has tried to make Android Wear 2.0 a complete experience, but we will have to try the OS before we can say more.
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