Thursday, February 9, 2017

Google announces Android Wear 2.0 and two LG watches. No Pixel watches.

As promised, Google has announced Android Wear 2.0, it's new operating system for watches and in order to showcase the OS capabilities, Google partnered with LG to release two new watches: the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style. So no Pixels watch as initially rumored. David Singleton, VP of engineering for Android Wear, announced in a blog post that the two watches will be available in the U.S. starting February 10 and through retailers across some countries in coming weeks. 

With Android Wear 2.0, Google wants to make the watch on the wrist the first go-to place for you to find the information that matters to you at some point in time. The new OS includes some helpful watch faces which show users their next appointment, stock performance, fitness goals progress etc.

On the work out front, Google Fit "now lets you track your pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate* as you’re walking, running or cycling." The heart rate feature works if your watch has the required sensor. And if your watch cellular connection, Android Wear will let you stream tunes from Google Music and stay in touch with your calls and messages.

Speaking of messages, Android Wear 2.0 brings new ways to respond to messages in apps like Facebook Messenger, Google Messenger, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Telegram. When you want to respond to a message, expand the notification and choose whichever ways to reply by dictating, typing, handwriting or drawing an emoji. Google also added smart reply, which will suggest a response based on the content of the message you received.

Google Assistant is front and center in every Google products and it naturally finds its place in Android Wear for a hands-free experience. Just as would on your phone or Google Home, just ask about anything and Google Assistant will gladly oblige and display the info on your wrist. In addition, Google Assistant will handle restaurant reservation, take your reminders and more. Currently Google assistant is available in English and German with more languages coming.

These are the big features coming to our watches. The blog post does not say when Android Wear 2.0 will reach current devices; we'll have to wait for watch manufacturers to work on their build and hopefully we'll see OTA upgrades being pushed out next month. 

The entire blog post about Android Wear 2.0 can be read on the Keyword blog.

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