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Android Wear 2.0 is on its way: we've got all the details (VIDEO)

Android Wear is soon to receive its biggest update since launch; Android Wear 2.0 was showcased at Google I/O in May 2016 and we now have confirmation that it will start rolling out to smartwatches on February 9. Below you will find out all you need to know about the second version of the Android Wear operating system, plus check out our video to see it in action.

Android Wear 2.0 unveiled

The biggest release for Android Wear yet, version 2.0, brings a more refined approach from Google, narrowing down its aspirations for the technology. An Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview is available already, and in its fifth version since January 2017. Find out how you can get the Developer Preview up and running over at the Google Android Wear Developers page

We gave Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview a test run with the futuristic Huawei Watch. Check out the video below to hear our thoughts and see the new version of the OS in action.

Most notably, Android Wear 2.0 will be able to run standalone apps, meaning the watch doesn't need to be in range of a smartphone for an app to work. This makes Android Wear more independent, striking out from the impression people have of smartwatches being expensive and unnecessary smartphone accessories.

With cellular support, Android Wear 2.0 will let you make calls, use OK Google, and more without relying on your phone being nearby. Not only that, the latest update to smartwatches will bring support for its Google Assistant, which we first saw with the release of its Pixel smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, in addition to Android Pay.

google android wear 2 0 watch face complications
Complications, features showing data from apps, can now be shown on any watch face. / © Google

Messaging sees an improvement through handwriting recognition, smart reply, and a swipe-enabled keyboard. Google placed many of its products at I/O under the umbrella of its machine learning expertise, and here things are no different. All three of these input methods are held up by Google's AI. And, although a keyboard may seem a poor choice of input on a screen so small, Google hopes that its machine learning algorithms are powerful enough to predict the words you want based on just the first letter or two that you enter.

google android wear 2 0 input methods
The three messaging input methods on Android Wear 2.0. / © Google

When it comes to fitness, Google is providing interaction between fitness apps through the Google Fit API. This effectively allows apps to exchange information, such as calories burned and consumed, creating a more holistic experience. There's also activity recognition, so when you begin running, this can automatically be detected by a running app, which can begin timing your run, or counting your calories burned, for example.

There's also a Material Design overhaul of the Android Wear interface. This can be seen immediately in how notifications appear.

google android wear 2 0 material design notifications
Android Wear 2.0 sees a Material Design visual overhaul. / © Google

Which smartwatches will get Android Wear 2.0 in 2017?

In December 2016, Google revealed a definitive list of which smartwatches would be in line for the Android Wear 2.0 update. The smartwatches will likely not get the update all at once, the roll out would happen gradually throughout 2017, so don't expect it right away. Here's the list:

Older smartwatches that were released in 2014 won't be getting the update, those being the Moto 360 (first generation), the Samsung Gear Live and the very first Asus ZenWatch. 

What do think of these changes to Android Wear? What additions would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments.

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  • who cares? I'll stick to my Timex!

  • Doug D. 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Odd, so people will have Google assistant on their wrists with Android wear 2.0, but their phones won't have it, unless they have a pixel, at this point in time.

    • Ken 6 days ago Link to comment

      i just downloaded Android Wear to my HTC One phone and it shows that it is version 2.0.x - same with Iphone 6

  • I hope Sony Smartwatch 3 become the Update.

  • the wording of this article was very odd. will i NEED a phone to access any single, all, or specific features, apps, etc? will the watch be able to pair/control the same connected devices that my phone is capable of? will it require a 4G Micro Sim? what i'm getting at here, is I am not at all comforted by the "possibility" of standalone, i want to know that any device running wear 2.0 os will function, not as an extension of my smartphone, but as a smartphone. i don't want a screen to mirror my phone (ala chromecast), speakerphone accessory (like moto hint), I want go-go gadget's wrist phone. PS if any US readers know of any standalone device on the market android or other wise capable of making phone calls WITHOUT a screen, get at me.

  • Love my Moto, can't wait

  • Rideau 8 months ago Link to comment

    There is something wrong with 2.0... HOW DO YOU WANT TO WRITE ANYTHING WITH A QWERTY KEYBORD ON A 1.5 INCH DISPLAY??

  • How useful is a smartwatch?

  • Yeah lasers and being able to control you're watch and settings from your PC Tab/Phab or phone. Using a bigger interface might make watch life easier

  • When will Samsung Galaxy A3 get this version. I really like this version 5.5.1.

  • I want lazers.

  • So, prior to the 5.1.1 update, swiping right cleared the notification. Now, the only option is to swipe down and it doesn't get rid of it but simply "hides" it. (Swipe up and it shows up again) How the hell do you get RID of it.

  • jay suka Jun 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Wow my moto 360 surprised me a lot so far even I am a pebble fun but still waiting for my pebble time right now so I bought the moto to try.

  • Android wear updates are always anticipated! They give you the latest advancement in your smartwatch.

  • Atom1976 May 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Got update on Samsung Gear live this morning

  •   10
    Mak S May 22, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't get the whole smart watch thing. You have a smart phone that does all that. What's the need? I'll stick to my old Seiko Dive watch.

  • Why isn't there going to be an update for the Samsung Gear S?

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