Google releases Android Wear 2.0
Smartwatches are in an interesting spot right now. Fitbit has been buying up smartwatch companies left and right while posting big losses. Apple is the reigning king at the time of this writing. And Google is marching on with the release of Android Wear 2.0.
The update is a big one (as expected with an integer release) and brings several new features. Watch faces can now be customized to include information from supported apps, Google Fit lets users track more metrics (like pace and calories burned), and apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store directly to the watch. Messaging has also been overhauled and supports dictation, typing via an on-screen keyboard, and even handwriting recognition. Smart Reply will let users choose canned responses based on the messages received. Last but definitely not least, Google Assistant makes its wearable debut and brings voice dictation to Android Wear smartwatches.
Android Wear 2.0 also brings some refinements to features like NFC payments and cellular calling. Overall, the update aims to sever the tether between smartwatches and smartphones and make wearables more independent.
Android Wear 2.0 is currently available on two new devices from LG, the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport. Both devices will be available from Google and retail stores like AT&T and Verizon on February 10th. Android Wear 2.0 will roll out to supported devices “in the coming weeks.” Check the press release below for a full list of supported devices.