Google just renamed Android Wear this month, now officially "Wear OS by Google," but under the hood nothing has really changed. It's the same old, same old situation that could not raise much faith in Google's Smartwatch platform. Today, Google announced the first developer preview under the new "Wear OS" brand, which points to the direction in which the Android-based operating system is running. And maybe it's not just good news for developers and users.
Wear OS will be based on Android P when the latter comes out of the woodwork. And as in Android P, Google introduces restrictions on the use of private and undocumented features in Android. While the goal is to promote the stability and smooth transition from one version of Android to the next, some developers have used these APIs because they are useful, even if they are not available to the public. Google gives these app developers at least a chance to put forward their arguments.
Battery life is one of the biggest problems with smartwatches, so it's definitely encouraging that Google is taking steps to improve it. Its main strategy is to limit what happens in the background, but these limitations may have a price to users. Android Oreo has already implemented restrictions on apps running in the background, but Wear OS goes a few steps further. Apps, with the exception of dials and complications, as well as information and notifications on the dial will no longer run in the background, unless the clock is charging.
But wait, there is more. Wear OS will even turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cell phones if it's determined that the watch will not be worn for a long time. It will also switch to Wi-Fi if the Bluetooth connection is lost, even if it is still on the body. Although there is a reason for leaving your watch on the bedside table or at home, it seems to ignore other uses where the watch is always near the user, even when not worn.
The Wear OS The developer preview is still in its infancy, so nothing is set in stone yet. However, it points to the strict measure that Google will take in the future. For the moment, the developer preview is only available for the Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth and Huawei Watch 2 Classic Bluetooth and only flashing manually on the devices.