Last week, Google introduced a new Wear OS build based on the Android P system upgrade for mobile. The operating system for wearables has been due for a substantial upgrade, but this is more or less another incremental upgrade. Here’s everything we know.
First off, know that this is a developer preview. It is designed for manufacturers and developers only to test their hardware and applications. As of right now, the preview only works on Huawei Watch 2 and Huawei Watch 2 Classic, which is a sad thing because far from everyone owns one of these two timepieces. Other watches could gain support with a future release, and more should get the official update once out. Right now, we have no further information about any other watches.
The update, according to Android developers, will bring many of the benefits of Android P for mobile to smartwatches. From what we’ve seen and tested, there is not a whole lot that it is super new and cool. The software is extremely buggy, so even if you own one of the newer Huawei watches, it’s not recommended that you update unless you’re not dependent on the watch for routine functions. The process also involves flashing so it’s a bit cumbersome. If you decide to proceed, just know that you might be sacrificing battery life and performance by doing so. You can send your feedback to Google through the Android Developers portal to improve the next update. Speaking of which, Google did not specify whether there will be another developer preview build.
If you’re looking to update, there doesn’t seem to be a beta program or anything like that. In other words, you have to flash, so back up your data before heading in. Some new features that we know of consist of a native Dark Theme for all devices, restricted background activity for conserving battery life, and other power consumption features similar to those found in Android P for mobile.
For those curious, Android Wear recently became Wear OS and Google listed out which smartwatches would have continued support. I wouldn’t be surprised if these end up being the devices updated with Android P. The name change update continues to roll out through the revamped Wear OS mobile application for your phone, and includes nothing other than new name, which was made because these smartwatches also work with iPhones. Therefore, dropping the word Android makes sense in avoiding confusion among consumers. The Android P update, much like Android Wear 2.0 back in the day, is expected to be a system update rolled out over-the-air. This could mean more fragmentation among Wear OS smartwatches in terms of the software version they run since many won’t get Android P.
No release date for this update is yet to be set. Perhaps we’ll learn more about Google’s plans for Wear OS and the future of this software update in May at Google I/O. As soon as we’re told more, we’ll update you with any new information, so stay here at Droid Turf. More information can be found at the links below.