The wearable platform, Android Wear, has been updated over time to include more features and improve its overall functionality. Right now, the vast majority of smartwatches running on the platform support API 22, but the new LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE is running on API 23 which belongs to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, as it includes newer features. In the coming months, the rest of the smartwatches will get updated to this new version via OTA. Here are the changes that the update will bring to the platform.
One of the biggest changes in the mobile version of Marshmallow was the new permission system, which now lets users choose the permissions they will grant to a certain app. This new permission model will be available in Android Wear as well, so that users can turn on and off permissions at any time. While the first smartwatches featured a rectangular screen, newer smartwatches include a circular display, and this tred seems to be here to stay, as some of the better-looking watches are round. API 23 will make it easier to develop apps that look good on both types of screens, as new -round and -notround resource qualifiers have been included and can be combined with the existing ones.
Tearing down some smartwatches like the Huawei Watch and the Asus ZenWatch 2, it was discovered that they integrated speakers, and API 23 now support this component, so developers can now add sounds to their apps. This feature is already available in the Watch Urbane 2 LTE, as it also includes a speaker, so it’s likely that the other watches will get it as well. The files can be played using the same APIs available on Android phones. The new API also includes support for Intel x86, as these processors are included in the TAG Heuer Connected and other upcoming smartwatches. There are new emulator images available for API 23 and x86 watches, additionally, they have added profiles for every smartwatch model, so developers can test their apps on all of them. Since API 22 is widely available, developers would want to make sure that their apps are compatible with both APIs and while there is still not a date for the update roll out, they will be notified when API 22 support is no longer needed.