Google has officially announced the launch of Android Wear 2.0 this morning after a rumor initially pegged the launch announcement for February 9th, and after months and months of developer preview releases hitting the list of supported watches, the fifth and final of which was launched back at the end of January. With it, Google aims to bring a slew of enhancements to the Android Wear platform and this includes the already obvious features that have been known about for a while, like Google Assistant and the ability to use Android Pay from your watch, so long as you have a device with NFC that supports the feature as Android Pay needs NFC to work. While not all of the Android Wear smartwatches that have been released since the platform was introduced will be getting Android Wear 2.0, as a few of the oldest devices will be passed up, most of the currently available watches will be updated and Google says the public launch will start in the coming weeks, while it will be available on the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style this Friday on February 10th.
The two features mentioned above will be joined by other improvements such as the ability to download apps directly onto your watch from the Play Store on the device, instead of pushing them to the watch through a Play Store download on the smartphone. This will help expedite the installation process for apps and ensure that you don’t have to wait for them to transfer from the phone before you start using them on the watch.
One of Android’s biggest strengths has always been its customization and the way users could change things around to be custom fit to their own personal tastes. Android Wear 2.0 is seeing a bit of that customization come through as the new watch faces that users will get access to in this version of Android Wear will allow them to add specific information and actions from apps they use often. For example, users will be able to order an Uber ride from their watch by adding the action to a watch face, and users can custom tailor different watch faces for different uses like having one for work, one for their workout, and one for the rest of the time they aren’t at work or the gym.
Speaking of the gym, Google Fit is getting some improvements too, as users will now be able to measure and track various other exercise activities like weight-lifting reps, squats, push-ups, and sit-ups. All of this is all well and good, but perhaps the most exciting feature for many users will be Google Assistant for Android Wear 2.0. There are a handful of things you’ll be able to do with Assistant from your wrist like ask it questions or update your shopping list, and accessing it is a simple task and can be done in one of two ways, which includes using the “Ok Google” command, or holding down the power button on the watch. At the moment Google Assistant for Android Wear is only available in English and German, but Google does note that it will be supporting more languages in the future. Android Wear 2.0 will be available starting February 10th for existing devices, with the first two watches to get it being the LG Watch Style and the LG Watch Sport which launch beside the software.