Google Unveils & Launches Wear OS DP2 - I/O 2018

Developer Preview 2 (DP2) for Google's smartwatch-centric Wear OS is now available, bringing support for Actions on Google (AoG) and power saving enhancements. The announcement was made on day two of the search giant's annual Google I/O 2018 Developers Conference, which runs through May 10 and via the official Android Developers Blog. Aside from those enhancements, Smart Reply has made its way over from Android P, enabled for bridged notifications. Simplified Chinese support has been added alongside that and the Wear OS version of the feature is powered by TensorFlow Lite so that its optimized for low-memory and low-power devices. Moreover, the team behind Wear OS has a new recommendation for messaging apps. The algorithm associated with Smart Reply can be given a more structured data set to base its recommendations on by utilizing "MessagingStyle" notifications.

Looking more closely at the other listed changes to this new developer preview for Wear OS, the biggest change is the inclusion of support for AoG. That's Google's developer platform for Google Assistant. The inclusion of AoG signals a revamped Assistant for Wear OS with support for visual cards, follow-on suggestion chips, and text-to-speech. Existing and new Actions will now work on Wear OS "out of the box." The change also doesn't require Android P to run, opening up development for a wider variety of developers. Meanwhile, the company has also fixed some battery-related issues based on feedback from Developer Preview 1, in addition to adding new features. For starters, the company rolled back a previous change which caused Wear devices to stop connecting to Wi-Fi without a Bluetooth connection. A previously launched feature limited background activity has been adjusted but Google now recommends that apps that require that type of activity use foreground services to anchor jobs and activities. Specifically, that applies to activities centered around creating jobs and alarms for apps that frequently need to do that such as fitness apps. Finally, the company introduces a new enhanced power saving mode. Once turned on, the watch face will be replaced with a power-efficient alternative and radios, touch screen, and tilt to wake will be shut off. The physical watch button will need to be pressed to access the time and a long-hold on that button will switch the mode off. Developers are advised to consider their apps turned off and unavailable in that mode.

Although the preview is downloadable now, it's worth pointing out that this is not intended for consumer use and there are known issues with the build. For developers on the platform, however, this new preview includes updated Android Emulator images and system images for Huawei's Watch 2 Bluetooth and Watch 2 Classic Bluetooth. So those interested in getting started building on the new version of Wear OS will want to click through the button or source link below to get started.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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