T3 EXPLAINS: ANDROID WEAR 2.0
WHAT’S UP WITH THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMARTWATCHES?
Previous generations of Android Wear relied on your handset for much of the muscle and for hosting a decent portion of the data. Wear 2.0 puts apps right on your wrist, and implements a standalone app store accessible from the watch. This makes Wi-Fi and (in some cases) cellular connectivity ever more important, and also means that iPhone owners won’t be stuck with crippled Wear devices.
A curved, vertical app selector, brought up via the side button, now featues, as opposed to the left/right swiping of previous versions. There are new options for input, from canned messages to swipe-typing (though we can’t imagine this will be hugely useful given the small screens on offer), and card notifications that won’t entirely obscure the watchface.
Google is introducing a new system called ‘complications’, which enables apps to interface directly with watchfaces to bring you the data you need in an instant. While the name might be a little prescient – there’s sure to be a bit of infighting over which apps can put things in which places – it’ll add a new level of interactivity and usefulness with each wrist raise.
LG’s Watch Style and Watch Sport are the first two Wear 2.0 devices to hit the high street. Stacks more are set to follow, and the upgraded OS will roll out to a number of older devices, too. Don’t expect it on everything – the original Moto360 won’t get it, for example, though it’s set to hit the second-generation model.