Android Wear is the platform of the OS modified to be used on wearable devices, it was introduced not long ago and since then, has been updated a few times to improve its performance and introduce other features. A bunch of smartwatches use this OS and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so users can pick the one they want and the OS helps to create an even more personal experience with all the different watch faces. The latest update is known as 5.1.1 included a lot of improvements, the UI is more organized, Wi-Fi support meant more independence of these devices from the smartphones as they can still get notifications when the phone is far away. There’s also support for gestures, so users can control the watch with wrist movements so the screen remain visible at all time and emojis can now be drawn on the screen and the system would transform them digitally so they could be sent or shared with others.
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There’s another important feature included in this update that developers might want to consider in favor of the consumers, support for Always-on apps. Due to the small size of wearable tech, the batteries included don’t offer much capacity, usually lasting for a day or a little more depending on the usage, so most of these devices turn off their screen to save power. With Always-on apps, they would change their color palettes to black and white and being visible all the time without having to wake up the smartwatch while saving power, especially in AMOLED screens, as only the necessary pixels would turn on.
Now, Google has shared a few apps that are already compatible with this feature so developers take note on how it might improve their apps. Endomondo, MapMyRun, Runtastic and Golfshot are apps that help users that care about fitness to see relevant information at a glance. Some productivity-oriented apps like Google Keep or Bring! Shopping List also support this so that the smartphone could stay in the pocket and users can see their reminders or lists at grocery stores or any other situations. While traveling, users of American Airlines, Delta and KLM can check their flight status, gate number, and seat number as well as their boarding pass.