Google is rebranding Android Wear to Wear OS, a change to replicate the excessive variety of iPhone house owners utilizing a Google smartwatch.
Which means a brand new emblem, which can seem on all future Android Wear – sorry, Wear OS – smartwatches, whereas all current watches will probably be rebranded in an over-the-air replace within the coming weeks.
However what about new options – and the way forward for the platform? Sadly this is not Android Wear 3.Zero by one other title, however Google has promised a handful of options quickly, a few of which we realized about after we sat down with Dennis Troper, head of product at Android Wear. He additionally hinted at another enhancements we will anticipate to see over the approaching months.
From new well being updates to an improved Assistant, listed here are the brand new options and adjustments you may anticipate to see within the coming months.
Learn this subsequent: The last word information to Wear OS
Google desires Wear OS to be more healthy
iOS customers are additionally getting a brand new app that can allow them to view their Google Match historical past, as till now that was solely viewable on the watch when used with an iPhone. However Google’s received bigger ambitions in well being and health.
Large image: Wear OS on iPhone – what can it do?
“We’re very fascinated about quite a lot of progress on the well being and Match aspect of issues,” mentioned Troper after we requested about pursuing ‘deep well being’ in the best way Apple and Fitbit are proper now. “I do not need to announce something proper now, however you may anticipate quite a lot of progress taking place this yr on this house from the Wear crew.”
One of many areas the crew is engaged on is “extra proactively teaching and motivating customers to remain extra lively, and serving to them with their general wellbeing,” mentioned Troper. There’s much more that’s going to occur in 2018 with well being and health that we’ll be asserting within the upcoming months”
Provided that Alphabet has quite a lot of curiosity in well being with Verily Life Sciences and different branches, it is surprisingly far behind within the wearable well being race. Here is hoping Google can catch up.
For iPhone customers, issues will get higher
Searching the Play Retailer on watch is fiddly as hell, particularly when you need to use the keyboard, so we requested Troper if iOS customers would possibly be capable of sooner or later browse the shop on iOS. “We’re wanting into that,” was his response.
However one iOS downside he sees as extra imminently fixable is the Assistant. “There have been many instances the place the connectivity breaks and so customers are usually not capable of full that complete throw from asking the query to getting the data. So once I speak about bettering the iOS expertise, this is among the areas we’re investing quite a lot of sources, making an attempt to enhance the connectivity between an iOS system over Bluetooth with Wear.”
Troper mentioned that Google is “constructing an increasing number of automation in [its] checks to detect problems with connectivity a lot earlier.”
“We work with so many units with completely different architectures, so it’d work properly with one watch however not with one other. By including this automated testing it’ll assist us anticipate these points a lot earlier within the cycle.”
iMessages proceed to be an impediment for Android Wear customers, and that is not going to alter any time quickly – however Troper says it’s one thing they’re making an attempt to get round. “It is an issue that is not distinctive to Wear,” he informed us. “However we need to discover a answer there.”
Notifications are going to enhance
Troper says communication is among the “hero use instances” for Wear and one thing the crew will probably be “doubling down” on. “We’ll optimize the expertise for the wrist kind issue and ensure it actually works properly.”
With Android Wear 2.Zero Google dialed down the ‘playing cards’ and made notifications a bit much less annoying, however we really feel they may very well be higher nonetheless. “We predict that data that flows into your wrist must be quick and at a look, versus cell telephones which you could be immersed in for hours,” mentioned Troper. “It needs to be fairly the other in that regard. There are a lot of issues we’re doing to make that have significantly better for the wrist kind issue. We’re additionally going to offer customers extra management over the data they get on the watch.”
Sounds good to us.
Google’s not phased about tech manufacturers stepping again
Regardless of a couple of main client tech firms stepping again from Android Wear, notably Motorola and Asus, Troper is not fussed. “Each accomplice is completely different. They’ve their very own the reason why they might need to make investments or not spend money on wearable units. What we’re seeing is a really wholesome ecosystem of companions each within the client digital model aspect of factor in addition to within the vogue and luxurious aspect. That is not altering.”
Count on a brand new ‘hero’ smartwatch
Google launched the LG Watch Sport and Sport initially of 2017 to showcase the potential of Android Wear 2.0, however they’re getting lengthy within the tooth. We have referred to as on Google to make a Pixel Watch, and we might quickly get our want, or a minimum of a hero watch to switch LG’s.
“I believe it nonetheless is smart and we’ll nonetheless be doing that,” mentioned Troper after we requested if we’ll see a brand new hero system. “I do not need to announce something proper now however the prospects are good.”
Higher, smarter Assistant
We talked about incoming enhancements to Assistant when used with iOS, however Troper guarantees that Assistant as an entire will get higher, which is not any shock whenever you have a look at how onerous Google is pushing this within the good house. Troper mentioned that Google is working carefully with the Google Assistant crew to make the expertise extra dependable and extra proactive.
We’re investing quite a bit within the Assistant. We predict what we launched was a ‘very first’ model however now we have much more to enhance and we’re properly conscious of that, particularly relating to the presentation and the outcomes, and in addition anticipating what a person desires reasonably than ready for the command to return by way of voice.”
Longer battery life
“Clearly battery life is tremendous essential, and we’re engaged on completely different ranges to enhance battery life,” mentioned Troper. “I believe one of the simplest ways to characterize the place we’re placing that funding is three ranges: the show stage, the community routing or community site visitors stage, after which on the CPU stage. In every of those areas there are features that may be additional optimized. So for instance we cannot get up the CPU until now we have to.
“So every one in all these areas, we’re working to additional optimize.”
Battery drain is an actual nuisance with Wear, and although it varies by watch and utilization, we discover it onerous to stretch it to 2 days. We have like it if Google may make it so Wear OS can attain a second night time, however earlier than then we might have a brand new chip to run Android Wear on. Qualcomm, we’re taking a look at you.
Future updates will probably be extra common
Android Wear 2.Zero made it so Google may ship extra frequent updates to units, however apart from the current Oreo replace it is felt like enhancements have been skinny. Troper guarantees that is going to alter with Wear OS. “You are going to see enhancements coming in an increasing number of usually.”
Count on much more watches in 2018
Google launched 26 watches in 2017, and this yr we will anticipate loads extra, says Troper. “This determination has been very welcomed by our companions. There’s a fantastic lineup of watches that we’re planning with them for 2018 that’ll be transport with this new model.”
All eyes on Baselworld then.