Tag Archives: wearos

What’s new from Android, at Android Dev Summit ‘22

Posted by Matthew McCullough, Vice President, Product Management, Android Developer

Just now, we kicked off the first day of Android Dev Summit in the Bay Area, where my team and I covered a number of ways we’re helping you build excellent experiences for users by leveraging Modern Android Development, which can help you extend those apps across the many devices Android has to offer - across all screen sizes from the one on your wrist, to large screens like a tablet or foldables.

Here’s a recap of what we covered, and don’t forget to watch the full keynote!

Modern Android Development: Compose October ‘22

A few years ago, we introduced a set of libraries, tools, services, and guidance we call Modern Android Development, or MAD. From Android Studio, Kotlin, Jetpack libraries and powerful Google & Play Services, our goal is to make it faster and easier for you to build high quality apps across all Android devices.

For building rich, beautiful UIs, we introduced Jetpack Compose several years ago - this is our recommended UI framework for new Android applications.

We’re introducing a Gradle Bill of Materials (BOM) specifying the stable version of each Compose library. The first BOM release, Compose October 22, contains Material Design 3 components, lazy staggered grids, variable fonts, pull to refresh, snapping in lazy lists, draw text in canvas, URL annotations in text, hyphenation, and LookAheadLayout. The team at Lyft has benefited from using Compose. They shared “Over 90% of all new feature code is now developed in Compose.”

We want Compose to help you take advantage of the entire Android ecosystem of devices, Compose for Wear OS hit its 1.0 stable release several weeks ago making it the recommended way to build UI for Wear. Today we announced that we’re growing the offering with the first alpha release of Compose for Android TV. Components like featured carousel and immersive list are already available, with more components coming soon. So if you're learning Android or starting a new app, Jetpack Compose is ready for you!

Modern Android Development comes to life in Android Studio, our official IDE that provides powerful tools for building apps on every type of Android device. Today, we’re releasing a number of new features for you to test out, including updated templates that are Compose by default and feature Material 3, Live Edit on by default for Compose, Composition Tracing, Android SDK Upgrade Assistant, App Quality Insights Improvements and more. Download the latest preview version of Android Studio Flamingo to try out all the features and to give us feedback.

Moving image of Android  and Jetpack updates with customer feedback

Wear OS: the time is now!

A key device that users are turning to is the smallest and most personal — the watch. We launched our joint platform – Wear OS – with Samsung just last year, and this year, we have seen 3X as many device activations, with amazing new devices hitting the market, like Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Google Pixel Watch. Compose for Wear OS, which makes it faster and easier to build Apps for Wear OS, went to 1.0 this summer, and is our recommended approach for building user interfaces for Wear OS apps. More than 20 UI components specifically designed for Wearables, with built-in material theming and accessibility.

Today, we’re sharing updated templates for Wear OS in Android Studio, as well as a stable Android R emulator system image for WearOS.

With personalized data from a wearable, it’s important to keep the data completely private and safe, which is why we’ve been working on a solution to make this easier – Health Connect. It’s an API that we built in close collaboration with Samsung for storing and sharing health data - all with a single place for users to easily manage permissions.

Developers who invest in Wear OS are seeing big results: Todoist increased their install growth rate by 50% since rebuilding their app for Wear 3, and Outdooractive reduced development time by 30% using Compose for Wear OS. Now is the time to bring a unique, engaging experience to your users on Wear OS!

Making your app work great on tablets & large screens

As you heard earlier this year: Google is all in on tablets, foldables, and ChromeOS. With amazing new hardware–like Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, Lenovo P12 Tab Pro, and Google’s upcoming Pixel Tablet, there has never been a better time to review your apps and get them ready for large screens. We’ve been hard at work, with updates to Android, improved Google apps and exciting changes to the Play store making optimized Tablet apps more discoverable.

We’ve made it easier than ever to test your app on the large screen in Android Studio Electric Eel, including resizable and desktops emulators and visual linting to help you adhere to best practices on any sized screen.

We’ve also heard that we can help you by providing more design and layout guidance for these devices. To help today, we added new layout guidance for apps by vertical to developer.android.com, as well as developer guidance for Canonical layouts with samples.

Apps that invest in large screen features are seeing that work pay off when it comes to engagement; take Concepts, which enables amazing stylus interactions like drawing and shape guides for ChromeOS and stylus devices, and saw a 70% higher usage for tablets compared to phones!

Be on the lookout for more updates on our improvements to Android Studio, Window Manager Jetpack, and more with the Form Factors track, broadcast live on November 9.

Making it easier to take advantage of platform features in Android 13

At the heart of a successful platform is the operating system, and Android 13, released in August, brings developer enhancements too many facets of the platform, including personalization, privacy, security, connectivity, and media.

For example per-app language preferences, improve the experience for multilingual users, allowing people to experience their device in different languages in different contexts.

The new Photo picker is a permission free way to allow the user to browse and select photos and videos they explicitly want to share with your app, a great example of how Android is focused on privacy.

To help you target new API levels, we're introducing the Android SDK Upgrade Assistant tool within the latest preview of Android Studio Flamingo, which gives you step-by-step documentation for the most important changes to look for when updating the target SDK of your app.

These are just a few examples of how we're making it easier than ever to adapt your app to platform changes, while enabling you to take advantage of the latest features Android has to offer.

Connecting with you around the world at Android Dev Summit

This is just the first day of Android Dev Summit - where we kicked off with the keynote and dove into our first track on Modern Android Development, we’ve still got a lot more over the coming weeks. Tune in on November 9, when we livestream our next track: Form Factors. Our final technical track will be Platform, livestreamed on November 14.

If you’ve got a burning question, tweet us using #AskAndroid; we’ll be wrapping up each track livestream with a live Q&A from the team, so you can tune in and hear your question answered live.
Modern Android Development Track @ Android Dev Summit October 24, 2022 at 9:00 AM PT 
Agenda 9:00 AM Keynote, 9:50 AM Custom Layouts and Graphics in Compose, 10:10 AM Making Apps Blazing Fast with Baseline Profiles, 10:30 State of the Art of Compose Tooling, 10:50 State Holders and State Production in the UI Layer, 11:10 AM 5 ways Compose Improves UI Testing, 11:15 AM 5 Android Studio Features You Don't Want to Miss, 11:30 AM Pre-recorded MAD Technical Talks, 12:20 PM Where to Hoist that State in Compose, 12:25 PM Material You in Compose Apps, 12:30 PM PM Compose Modifiers Deep Dive, 12:50 Practical Room Migrations, 12:55 PM Type Safe, Multi-Module Best Practices with Navigation, 1:00 PM What's New in Android Build, 1:20 PM From Views to Compose: Where Can I Start?, 1:25 PM Test at Scale with Gradle Managed Devices, 1:35 PM MAD #AskAndroid. Broadcast live on d.android.com/dev-summit & YouTube.
Form Factors Track @ Android Dev Summit November 9, 2022 
Sessions: Deep Dive into Wear OS App Architecture, Build Better Uls Across Form Factors with Android Studio, Designing for Large Screens: Canonical Layouts and Visual Hierarchy Compose: Implementing Responsive UI for Large Screens, Creating Helpful Fitness Experiences with Health Services and Health Connect, The Key to Keyboard and Mouse Support across Tablets and ChromeOS Your Camera App on Different Form Factors,  Building Media Apps on Wear OS,  Why and How to Optimize Your App for ChromeOS. 
Broadcast live on d.android.com/dev-summit & YouTube.
Platform Track @ Android Dev Summit November 14, 2022 
Sessions: Migrate Your Apps to Android 13,  Presenting a High-quality Media Experience for all Users, Improving Your Social Experience Quality with Android Camera, Building for a Multilingual World Everything About Storage on Android, Migrate to Play Billing Library 5: More flexible subscriptions on Google Play, Designing a High Quality App with the Latest Android Features, Hardware Acceleration for ML on-device, Demystifying Attestation, Building Accessibility Support for Compose. 
Broadcast live on d.android.com/dev-summit & YouTube.

This year, we’re also really excited to get the opportunity to meet with developers around the world in person, including today in the Bay Area. On November 9, Android Dev Summit moves to London. And the fun will continue in Asia in December with more roadshow stops: in Tokyo on December 16 (more details to come) at Android Dev Summit with Google DevFest, and in Bangalore in mid-December (you can express interest to join here).

Whether you’re tuning in online, or joining us in-person around the world, it’s feedback from developers like you that help us make Android a better platform. We thank you for the opportunity to work together with you, building excellent apps and delighting users across all of the different devices Android has to offer - enjoy your 2022 Android Dev Summit!

Raising the quality bar with updated guidelines for Wear OS 3.0

Posted by Marcus Leal, Senior Product Manager for Google Play Store

WearOS 3.0 art

Our Modern Android Developer tools and APIs are designed to help you build high quality apps your users love, and this extends to form factors such as wearables. Earlier this year we announced udates to our developer tools APIs to support you in building seamless, high quality apps for your users. Today we’re announcing new guidelines to help support you in building these experiences.

Updated quality guidelines for Wear OS apps

We’ve started by updating our guidelines to give you a better understanding of what we expect of quality apps on Google Play, and what your users will be expecting for Wear OS 3.0. Some of the major changes are summarized below:

  • There are updated quality requirements for notifications, layout, and Wear functionality. Starting October 13th, Wear OS apps will need to meet these requirements to be published on Google Play.
  • Starting October 13th, Watch Faces will need to comply with our updated guidelines. All watch faces still need to comply with Google Play policies in order to publish on Google Play.

Many developers are already meeting these requirements and won’t need to make many of these changes when migrating to Wear OS 3.0. However, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the full updated guidelines here.

Updated screenshot requirements for Wear OS apps

With these quality guideline updates, we’re also rolling out changes to the Play Store to improve the discoverability of Wear OS apps. In July we launched the ability for people to filter for Wear OS and Watch Faces when searching for apps within the Play Store.

We’re now releasing new screenshot requirements for Wear OS apps to help users better understand your Wear OS app’s functionality when discovering new apps. Starting October 13th, Wear OS apps will need to meet these screenshot requirements to be published on Google Play:

  • Upload screenshots with a minimum size of 384 x 384 pixels, and with a 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Provide screenshots showing only your app interface — screenshots must demonstrate the actual in-app or in-game experience, focusing on the core features and content so users can anticipate what the app or game experience will be like.
  • Don’t frame your screenshots in a Wear OS watch.
  • Don’t include additional text, graphics, or backgrounds in your Wear OS screenshots that are not part of the interface of your app.
  • Don’t include transparent backgrounds or masking.
List of Watch OS dos and don'ts. Do upload screenshots with a minimum size of 384 x 384 pixels, and with a 1:1 aspect ratio. Do provide screenshots showing only your app interface — screenshots must demonstrate the actual in-app or in-game experience, focusing on the core features and content so users can anticipate what the app or game experience will be like. Don’t frame your screenshots in a Wear OS watch.
Don’t include additional text, graphics, or backgrounds in your Wear OS screenshots that are not part of the interface of your app. Don’t include transparent backgrounds or masking.

Similar to mobile, your store listing and the quality of your Wear OS app will influence your search ranking and opportunities for merchandising. In order to put your best foot forward on Google Play, we recommend thinking about the following considerations:

  • Test your app on Wear OS 3.0 devices, and make sure it is working as expected.
  • Make sure your store listing shows that your app is available for Wear OS. One way to do this is to upload a screenshot of your Wear OS app or Watch face in Google Play Console.
  • Most importantly, ensure your Wear OS app meets the new quality requirements.

We hope this transparency helps your development process, and we look forward to seeing more seamless Wear OS experiences on Google Play. Happy Coding!

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.