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Android Wear 2.0 is a major overhaul of Google’s smartwatch OS

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Daniel Murdock
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The update gives the UI a comprehensive Material Design-themed overhaul, enables compatible watches to do more without a phone attached, introduces some new input methods to make communication easier, and copies one of the things that the Apple Watch gets right.

And since it s based on Android N, it picks up support for features like Data Saver, Java 8, and new emoji, among other platform features.

Apple doesn t offer full-fledged smartwatch APIs for Wear to hook into, and so using Wear with an iPhone is an inherently limited experience; with standalone apps, watches will be able to communicate directly over the Internet using Wi-Fi or your iPhone s LTE connection, skirting around the API problem that currently makes Wear on iOS so lackluster.

These complications should obviate the need for purpose-built weather or fitness-related watch faces, among others.

Some of these are really only of interest to developers—watch apps can automatically be notified and updated when Fit data changes, rather than having to query for updates constantly.

We won t know more details for sure until the finished version of Android Wear 2.0 is released this fall, presumably around the same time that the final Android N code is released to Nexus devices and the AOSP repositories.

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Daniel Murdock
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