Android Development
Published July 26th, 2016 by

Android Wear 2.0: 3 New Features for App Development

The Android Wear, one of the best inventions of mankind has been very much in demand ever since its release. It has always helped people in areas where smartphones couldn’t help them. It has always been a revelation for smartwatches. Now, Google’s operating system for smartwatches, will soon receive an update to the 2.0 version. A preview of the same was made at the Google I/O 2016. After some recommendations made by the developers’ community, a final version of the product has been released. The 3major new features of the Android Wear 2.0 are:

1. Platform API 24

To match Android Nougat, the platform API version has been upgraded to version 24. The Android Wear 2.0 Preview project’s the compileSDKversion and the targetSDKVersion can be updated to API 24. Some of the new features which include the wrist gestures are all set to enhance the user experience. The APIs not only offer new watch face complications, live background options and music album art options, they are packed with many other exciting features.

2. Wearable Drawers Enhancement

Wearable drawers come with the latest UX guidelines for using navigation drawer and action drawer on the Android Wear app. For users to have easy access while scrolling,new features have additional support for wearable drawer peeking. Automatic peek and navigation drawer closure are two of the most notable improvements of the UI improvements noticed in this new version. It also shows the first action in WearableAction Drawer’s peek view. Various new attributes have been added to the additional customization in the wearable drawer view, some of these attributes are peek_view and drawer_content. Even the navigation drawer contents can be updated with a simple option of calling ‘notifyDataSetChanged’.

3. Wrist Gestures

Now the android app developers can access the feature where they can scroll through the notification stream via wrist gestures for their applications. It aims at improving single hand usage experience making the smartwatch much more handier for multi-tasking and thus a must have for tech-savvy people.

The new version is still in development phase and can be accessed on the Android Wear website. Even though a lot of big have been fixed and a lot of changes have been made, there are some issues that still need to be addressed, such as –

  • The detection of ‘Ok Google’ and the voice transcription are still not reliable especially with the Indian accent.
  • Turning off screen lock functionality is unreliable.
  • Dismissing multiple notifications can force close the app.
  • Double pressing the power button while on launcher causes a blackout on watch screen.
  • No support has been provided for notification groups on the preview version.

This new version 2.0 will also include some new standalone apps which can be downloaded directly on the Android gear via the Google Play Store which is easily available to every android user. For OLED watch displays, a redefined circular user interface with a background which is darker and better can be downloaded. After its release, the 2.0 version will be available on the newer smartwatch versions.

Prateek Saxena

Managing Director at AppInventiv Technologies
Prateek Saxena is Managing Director of AppInventiv Technologies, a leading mobile app development company specialized in iOS and android app development. which makes app ideas into reality by providing unique design and development services across iOS, Android and Wearable platforms.

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