Tag Archives: wearos

What’s new with Wear

Posted by Simon Earnshaw, Group Product Manager

WearOS image

We’re announcing our biggest update yet to the Wear platform, with new features, APIs and tools to help developers create beautiful, high quality wearable experiences. In this blog post we highlight how we’re making it easier to build great apps for Wear, and how you can start working with pre-release versions of these APIs and tools to prepare your app for the new platform.

First things first: tools

The first thing you’ll want to do is download and install Android Studio Arctic Fox Beta, which includes a developer preview of the new Wear system image as well as improved tools for developing and testing Wear apps without a device:

  • Emulator with new Wear system image (preview) - A developer preview of the new Wear system image is now available so that you can use and play with the newest platform updates!
  • Wear app to phone pairing - We’ve made it much simpler to pair Wear emulators with your phone directly from Android Studio, so you can stay in the IDE to develop, test, and iterate. The new pairing assistant guides you step by step through pairing Wear emulators with physical or virtual phones directly in Android Studio! You can start by going to Device Dropdown > Wear OS emulator pairing assistant. Note that this will currently pair with the Wear OS 2 companion, and a Wear companion for the new release will be coming soon. Learn more.
  • Virtual Heart Rate Sensor - The emulator now has a virtual heart rate sensor, including support for the Heart Rate Sensor API, to help you create and test apps that respond differently to activity levels. Make sure you are running at least Android Emulator v30.4.5 downloaded via the Android Studio SDK Manager.
 New Virtual Heart Rate Sensor in the Wear emulator allows the virtual heart rate to be adjusted with a slider bar

We also announced a new watch face design tool built by Samsung. This new tool will make it a breeze to develop watch faces for all devices running Wear, and is coming soon.

New developer documentation and design guidance

In preparation for the new version of Wear we’ve completely revamped our developer site with new API documentation, learning pathways, codelabs and samples. And with Wear soon to feature a completely new consumer experience based on the latest from Material Design, we’ve updated our design guidelines to cover the new design system, UI components, UX patterns, and styles. Learn more.

New Jetpack APIs

From new Jetpack APIs tailored for small (round or square) screens and designed to optimize battery life to the Jetpack Tiles API, we’re adding a number of new features to help you build great Wear experiences, reduce boilerplate code, and write code that works consistently across Wear versions and devices:

  • Tiles - Tiles give users fast, predictable access to the information and actions they rely on most. We’ve now opened up Tiles for developers, and we’ve already been working with several early access partners to add Tiles to their apps. Here are a few coming soon:
New tiles in development from Adidas, Sleep Cycle, Hole 19, Outdooractive, Calm, Flo, and Golfpad

The Tiles API is in alpha and supported on devices running Wear OS 2 and up, so you can create Tiles for all the devices in the Wear ecosystem. Tiles will start to show up on consumer watches with the new platform update. Learn more

  • Task switching and Ongoing Activities - The new version of Wear makes it easy for users to switch back and forth between apps. With a minimal amount of code, you can use the new Ongoing Activities API to let your users return to your app after they’ve navigated away (to start some other task such as music playback) by tapping an activity indicator icon at the bottom of the watch face, double tapping on the the side button, or via the Recents section of the global app launcher. The Ongoing Activities API is now in alpha. Learn more.
3 new ways for users to switch between apps: Activity indicator on the watch face; double tap the watch’s side button; the Global app launcher
  • Health Services - We also announced today the beginning of a health and fitness platform, created in collaboration with Samsung. This platform provides fitness and health data generated from sensors, contextually-aware algorithms, and all-day health monitoring. You can use the APIs to create high quality, powerful fitness and health experiences for wearables with a simpler development experience. The platform handles all the work to manage your hardware and sensors for you, removing one of the biggest challenges in managing it yourself - knowing when to stop work so the battery doesn't drain. The alpha of this Health Services platform is available today. Learn more.
  • Other new APIs - We’ve released several other new APIs in Jetpack to make wearable app development easier, including support for curved text, input, watch faces, complications and remote interactions. You can learn more about these APIs here.

Google Play Store changes

We know that user engagement and discovery of an app is an important part of growing your business, so big updates coming to Google Play will soon make it much easier for users to discover great app experiences on the watch, including using search to easily find apps for the watch, look at the Wear category for app recommendations, and install apps to the watch directly from the phone.

Learn more

We’re excited for the next generation of Wear. To learn more about developing apps for smartwatches, see d.android.com/wear. We’re excited to see what you build!

What’s happening in Wear OS by Google

Posted by Karen Ng, Director of Product and Robert Simpson, Product Manager

This blog post is part of a weekly series for #11WeeksOfAndroid. For each week, we’re diving into a key area and this week we’re focusing on Android Beyond Phones. Today, we’ll share what’s happening with Wear OS by Google.

Wearable technologies help people lead healthier lives and connect with important, timely information. Today, we're sharing our areas of investment focusing on the fundamentals, bringing even more helpful experiences to more watches, and giving users more choice in a device ecosystem.

Focusing on fundamentals

Wearables are designed to instantly connect people with what's important throughout the day. That's why we're focused on fundamentals like performance and power.

In the next OTA update coming in the fall, we’re improving performance by making it faster to access your info and start your apps. We’re simplifying the pairing process to make onboarding easier. You’ll see improvements to our SysUI for more intuitive controls for managing different watch modes and workouts. And with CPU core improvements, you’ll also see up to a 20% speed improvement in startup time for your apps.

Finally, we continue to support advancements in technology to bring new functionality, such as LTE, and expand levels of performance with the new Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 and 4100+ platforms. We are excited by the kinds of wearable experiences that can be enabled in the future.

More helpful experiences

Wearables showcase important information at a glance. Some of the most used features of Wear OS by Google are hands-free timers and tracking fitness metrics. In response to COVID-19, we built a handwashing timer that helps ensure users practice good hygiene.

And later this year, you’ll see a beautiful new weather experience for Wear OS by Google. It aims to be easier to read while on the go, with an hourly breakdown of today’s weather to help you plan ahead and provide information about important weather alerts in your area.

Wearable OS image Wearable OS image Wearable OS image

We’re always imagining new ways wearables can help people stay healthy, present and connected. Stay tuned for more in 2021!

More choice than ever

We’re excited to welcome new watch OEMs to the Wear OS by Google family -- Oppo, Suunto, and Xiaomi. This means new watches that fit your style and needs -- such as the Suunto 7 with rich sports capabilities, or the new LTE watches from Oppo that will keep you connected on the go.

Bringing the best of Android to wearables

We’re also working to bring the best of Android 11 to wearables. Many of the things you’ve seen in modern Android development -- from Android Studio, a great language with Kotlin, and Jetpack libraries to make common tasks easier will be part of what you can expect as a developer building wearable apps. We’ve just released a release candidate for androidx.wear 1.1.0, and would love feedback on things you’d like to see as you get started building a wearable app.

We can’t wait to see what helpful experiences you’ll build!

Wear OS by Google developer preview

Posted by Hoi Lam, Lead Developer Advocate, Wear OS by Google

Today we launched the Wear OS by Google developer preview and brought Android P platform features to wearables. The developer preview includes updated system images on the official Android Emulator and a downloadable system image for the Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth or Huawei Watch 2 Classic Bluetooth. This initial release is intended for developers only and is not for daily or consumer use. Therefore, it is only available via manual download and flash. Please refer to the release notes for known issues before downloading and flashing your device.

In this release, we would like to highlight the following features that developers should pay attention to:

  • Restriction related to non-SDK methods and fields: To improve app compatibility, Android P has started the process of restricting access to non-SDK methods and fields. Developers should make plans to migrate away from these. If there is no public equivalent for your use case, please let us know.
  • Dark UI system theme: To enhance glanceability, Wear OS has switched to a UI theme with a darker / black background for the notifications stream and system launcher since the start of the year. This is now also the default for the system theme and should improve the glanceability for wear apps. Developers should check the accessibility of their app's UI after this change.
  • Limited background activity: To improve power, apps will no longer be allowed to run in the background unless the watch is on the charger. Developers should note that Wear OS is going further with Android's app standby feature than some other form factors. Exceptions to this include watch faces and complications that the user currently has selected. This feature will be rolled out gradually in the developer preview, so you may not see it immediately on your device, but should build your apps accordingly by removing background services.
  • Turning off radios when off body: To improve power, bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular radios will be turned off when the watch is detected to be off body for an extended period of time. Again, this feature will be rolled out gradually so you may not initially see it on your device. If this feature causes challenges in your development process, you can disable the feature via adb; please follow the instructions in the release notes.
  • WiFi off when BT is disconnected: To improve power, the device will no longer automatically connect to wifi when disconnected from bluetooth. Exceptions include if an app is requesting a high bandwidth network or if the watch is on the charger. This feature will be rolled out gradually so you may not initially see it on your device.

Please give us your feedback

We expect to provide several updates to this preview before the final production release. Please submit any bugs you find via the Wear OS by Google issue tracker. The earlier you submit them, the higher the likelihood that we can include the fixes in the final release.