Google Updates Complications API for Android Wear, Introduces Wear UI And Open-Sources Components

One of the announcements made at Google I/O is an updated Complications API. It will allow Android Wear developers to easily implement complications into watch faces.

We have discussed Android Wear 2.0 earlier this year. The system is a huge step forward in terms of usability. Google wants to give developers the tools to create the best Android Wear experience. To make it happen with relative ease, a new Wear UI library has been created.

Google has introduced four new tools for Android Wear developers. They are a part of Complications API introduced last year.

  • TextRenderer – Auto-sizes text to fit in bounds defined by watch face makers.
  • ComplicationDrawable – A full rendering solution for complications, that handles all the styling for you, and adjusts the layout to fit the space you specify
  • Easy watch face settings sample – Adoptable sample code that makes it easier to build complication settings with a rich and usable experience.
  • Complication test suite – A sample data provider to help check that your watch face can handle all the combinations of fields that can make up complication data.

Since the release of Android Wear 1.0, developers complained about its closed nature. Google decided to change that and open-source some components, and migrate some of the Android Wear UI components in the Android Support Library. Additionally, some Android Wear features will merge with Android under android.support.v4.widget. Finally, outdated user interface patterns will be deprecated. Google developers expect the migration process to continue during 2017. Wear developers will have time until mid-2018 to migrate to the new UI components.

These announced changes won’t impact Android Wear users directly, but they serve as a heads-up for developers to review their code and implement new changes. All new libraries should soon be available in the Android Support Library in Android Studio.


Source: Android Developer Blog

ASUS ZenWatch 3 now receiving Android Wear 2.0 update

ASUS launched the round ZenWatch 3 last year, and for those who picked up the wearable, ASUS has good news for you today to balance out yesterday’s relatively bad news.

The official ASUS UK Twitter account has confirmed that the Android Wear 2.0 update is now rolling out to the smartwatch. In fact, according to the account, AW2.0 actually started finding its way to users yesterday, May 15.

The ASUS UK Twitter account doesn’t go into any details of the update, but Android Wear 2.0 will add Google Assistant to the ZenWatch 3 as well as access to the Play Store to download apps onto the smartwatch directly and an all-new user interface.

If you own an ASUS ZenWatch 3, have you received the update yet?

Verizon’s LG Watch Sport has been cancelled

Back in February, LG and Google officially introduced the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style. A couple of days later the Watch Sport was supposed to launch at Verizon, but it was delayed. And now, months later, Verizon’s run with the Android Wear 2.0-based smartwatch has come to an end.

As reported by Droid-Life, the LG Watch Sport is no longer available from Verizon, with the wearable pulled from VZW’s digital storefront completely. Verizon confirmed the news, but LG has yet to comment.

As it stands, if you want to pick up an LG Watch Sport from a carrier, AT&T appears to be the only option. Google even pulled the Verizon variant of the Watch Sport from the Google Store. There does not appear to be any stated reason as to why Verizon has decided to end sales of the smartwatch.

To alleviate the grievances some might feel after the smartwatch’s cancellation all this time later, Verizon is currently offering $100 off any other wearable it offers.

Did you try to pick up an LG Watch Sport from Verizon?

Huawei Watch 2 review

The Huawei Watch 2 is the successor to the popular and adored original Huawei Watch, and it’s a controversial one. Gone are the classy looks, replaced with a sporty body and packed with features.

Details

  • 1.2-inch 390×390 AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor
  • 768MB RAM
  • 4GB storage
  • 420mAh battery
  • Sensors: Ambient light, accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, GPS, barometer, compass
  • 12.6mm thick
  • Price: $299.99

Hardware

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The first thing you’ll notice about the Huawei Watch 2 is its sporty appearance. Then it’ll hit you that the body is bigger and thicker than the original while the display is smaller. This has turned a lot of people off, and I’ll admit that I’m one of them. After owning an original Huawei Watch, I was hoping the Watch 2 would be a successor to the original, retaining the classy look while adding better hardware and features like NFC.

Yes, this isn’t a classy watch. Even the Classic version isn’t nearly as beautiful as the original. But don’t let this sour your opinion of the Watch 2, because if you look at it as a separate device, it’s actually pretty great.

The plastic body is durable and lightweight, weighing only 40g. This and the rubber strap makes it an extremely comfortable watch to wear. The polished ceramic ring surrounding the display is very scratch-resistant and looks really nice. The display itself is coated in Gorilla Glass, sadly forgoing its predecessor’s sapphire crystal.

On the side, you’ll find the familiar power button alongside a second function button which can be programmed to open any app you’d like. There’s no rotating crown, and while this is a shame, Huawei says it was not added so it wouldn’t be bumped during sport and activities. This is a fitness-oriented device, after all.

The display is smaller than its predecessor by a tenth of an inch, and it really does feel a lot smaller. Fortunately the pixel density is higher and the display is quite nice. It gets plenty bright in daylight and looks great in all conditions. It also features an ambient light sensor, which was a huge omission on the previous model. This comes without a flat tire thanks to the huge bezels.

Inside you’ll find much of the same hardware that powers other Android Wear watches. But while other watches omit a bunch of fitness sensors, the Huawei Watch 2 has a full assortment. You get a continuously reading heart rate sensor (it’s a big surprise how many modern smartwatches omit a heart rate sensor entirely), an accelerometer, a gyro, a barometer, a GPS, a compass, NFC, and capacitive sensor. All of the antennas are housed in the body.

There is also a speaker which can play alarms and music. It gets loud, and despite being more tinny than a garbage can, it actually sounds pretty decent.

The vibration on the previous watch was weak and I often couldn’t feel it. The Watch 2 vibration motor is strong but sharp and not too buzzy. It feels great.

Huawei Watch 2 review 2

The Huawei Watch 2′s bands are replaceable and feature the same quick change mechanism as the previous model. This mechanism makes band changes toolless and instant. Any 20mm band will work, so your previous bands won’t work if you’re upgrading from the original Huawei Watch.

Huawei Watch 2 review 5

The charger is a big talking point if you’ve ever owned the original Huawei Watch. It was pretty terrible, and getting the pins aligned often took a few careful snaps of the charger. I even had the watch buzz every couple of seconds all night long thanks to intermittent charger contact. Many of you know my pain. The new charger for the Huawei Watch 2 has side tabs that align it, meaning you can carelessly snap the charger on and get it right every single time. No more tears, only dreams now.

Software

The Huawei Watch 2 launches with Android Wear 2.0, which is a huge improvement over any other version of Android Wear. So much has been improved upon and even completely changed.

The notifications now act more like Android on a phone, where swiping in either direction will dismiss it and there is a clear all button at the bottom. Each notification can now have buttons, rather than a single button per screen like before. This means you can instantly delete emails, skip tracks on the music notification, and much more. This is such a big improvement over older versions. They’re also gray, so no more glaring white glow.

Google Assistant has been added, which means your watch can do much of what your phone can. This includes controlling your smart home, and if you’re connected to WiFi through your watch, this means you don’t need your phone on you around the house anymore.

Triggering Google Assistant requires holding the power button for a fraction of a second, while short-pressing it opens the app drawer. This is much easier to use than the previous three pages of apps, contacts, and voice prompts.

Google also added a software keyboard. Does that sound silly? Well, it actually works reasonably well!

Huawei Watch 2 review 3

Android Pay is included on Android Wear 2.0 watches with NFC, which the Huawei Watch 2 has. You can now tap a terminal to pay at certain stores and restaurants. You’ll have to set a pin or pattern to use this, but this only has to be inputted when you first put the watch on. You can open the app and tap the watch immediately without entering a pin if the watch is already unlocked.

The Play Store is now on the watch itself, so you can download apps without your phone. While this is only mildly useful for Android users, it finally brings apps to iPhone users with Android Wear watches. You will now be able to download apps and watch faces and keep them updated straight from the watch.

The overall feel of Android Wear 2.0 is so much more cohesive and user-friendly. The learning curve is still a bit high, but it will grow on you.

Battery life

The original Huawei Watch could squeeze out two days of battery life with WiFi, always-on display, and everything else on. The Huawei Watch 2 can too, but it depends on how it’s set up.

Due to the addition of GPS and other sensors, getting through two days can be tough. You’ll often see the low battery prompt by the end of the second work day. That being said, it still has plenty of battery life for a day even using workout features. Workout apps drain the battery pretty quickly.

Turn GPS off and two days of battery life is easy. You’ll be able to get through two full days and still have 20% left. This is with the watch constantly checking your heart rate. Turn off more features, get more battery life.

Huawei also includes a battery app with the Watch 2. Smart power savings turns off always-on display and other features to get you about 20% more battery life. Then there’s Watch Mode, which turns everything off but the watch face and pedometer. The screen stays off until you raise your arm and it will track your steps. No notifications, no apps, nothing. While this doesn’t sound so useful, it will last you a whopping 21 days!

Huawei Watch 29.5 / 10

Huawei Watch 2 review 6

In the end, comparing the Huawei Watch 2 to the original Huawei Watch isn’t quite fair. Despite sharing the same name, they’re very different devices. Even if you loved the original, you may not like the new one nearly as much. But that doesn’t distract from the fact that the Huawei Watch 2 is a solid, functional, and, frankly, nice smartwatch.

While I do wish that Huawei released a true successor to the first Huawei Watch with a slim, classy body and a large display, the Watch 2 is a good upgrade if you can get past the very different looks and the cheaper feel of plastics. It has almost everything you could ask for and does it all well.