Google's push to offer an open, Android-like experience for wearable devices has stagnated a bit in recent years, along with the category itself - but the company is pushing out some key updates for devs this week at I/O.
One of the main factors that have held me back from Android wear has been the lack of progress in the underlying technology.
In the past six months Google, along with Qualcomm was developing processor hours, which will be based on the Wear OS.
The second Developer Preview of the Wear OS is also based on Android P and comes with support for Actions on Google and more power-related enhancements including a new battery saver mode. The problem was that the rebranding didn't come with any new features or updates that advanced the capabilities of the platform.More news: Production Paralysis for the Ford F-150?
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Google is bringing us a lot of news lately on its Google I/O conference and the latest information is all about Wear OS features. It's been a while since I've personally used Google's smartwatch platform, but after checking out the latest build of Wear OS, there's more emphasis placed on its integration with Google Assistant. All the watches will have a similar basic connectivity option such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for paring and other functions. You'll be able to check the time by pressing the side button, while a long press will resume normal activity.
Alternatively, if you ask the Assistant about an upcoming flight, it can provide little buttons right on the watch, so you can tap on one to learn about an airline's baggage policies, a list of connecting flights, and what time your check-in is. On a related note, they'll also improve performance for always-on displays, which are pretty important if you don't want to find yourself constantly tapping your watch to wake it up.
There are also some design enhancements, such as a new dark mode and font for easier readability.
This new chip could be the boost Wear OS needs to return to relevancy. Additionally, various other Wear OS-powered smartwatches will be coming to the market by the end of year, which will be powered by the new wearable chipsets from Qualcomm.
What improvements would you like to see in future smartwatches?