Google’s Bringing Key Changes to Wear OS


It’s impressive to see how Wear OS has grown over the past few years – once dismissed by many as an unintuitive version of Android for smartwatches, Google’s smart wearable platform has undergone through a lot of changes, mostly for the better. This year at Google I/O 2024, we finally got a new round of updates which give us a glimpse into Wear OS’ future.

First up is the Wear OS 5 developer preview, which according to Google is arriving later this year. It’s based on Android 14, and Google adds that it will focus on enhancing battery life, a much-welcome development given the mostly unimpressive battery endurance of most Wear OS devices.

In addition to battery, Google promises that Wear OS 5 will feature improvements to performance, as well as a new watch face format. As such, Google and Samsung are bringing new watch face design features to Wear OS, which are now supported in a format using XML definitions, making watch face creation easier and more efficient. Additionally, an update to Watch Face Studio will be available later this year to use these new functionalities.

Google also revealed some changes to existing watch face development with Jetpack Watch Face APIs. With Wear OS 5, Google will implement restrictions to complications for watch faces built on AndroidX or the Wearable Support Library that will apply to certain data sources, in addition to Google Play publishing limitations to new watch faces built with these libraries.

For development on devices with larger displays, Google is releasing new guidelines on designing responsive UIs for different watch display sizes, in addition to updates for existing libraries concerning adaptive layouts and components. This is a no-brainer given the number of newer Wear OS devices which now feature larger displays, such as models from Samsung, OnePlus, and Mobvoi.

With all that said, Wear OS 5 is looking to be an interesting upgrade, especially with the added focus on battery life.

Mike Viray
A writer and content creator with a love for tech and music, Mike is also an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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