Android Wear

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Android Wear
Android Wear Logo New.png
The Moto 360 smartwatch
Developer Google
Written in C (core), C++, Java[1]
OS family Android
Working state Current
Source model Open source with closed source components[2]
Initial release March 18, 2014 (2014-03-18)
Latest release 2.6 (Based on Android 7.x Nougat)
Marketing target Smartwatches, other wearables
Available in Multi-lingual
Platforms 32-bit ARM, MIPS, x86
Kernel type Monolithic (modified Linux kernel)
Userland Bionic libc,[3] shell from NetBSD,[4] native core utilities with a few from NetBSD[5]
Default user interface Graphical (Multi-touch)
License Developer Preview: proprietary[6]
Apache License 2.0
Linux kernel patches under GNU GPL v2[7]
Official website

Android Wear is a version of Google's Android operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearables.[8][9] By pairing with mobile phones running Android version 4.3 or newer, or iOS version 8.2 or newer with limited support from Google's pairing application,[10] Android Wear integrates Google Assistant[11] technology and mobile notifications into a smartwatch form factor. It also adds the ability to download applications from the Google Play Store.

Android Wear supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,[12] 3G and LTE connectivity, as well as a range of features and applications. Watch face styles include round, square and rectangular. Released devices include Motorola Moto 360,[13] the LG G Watch,[14] and the Samsung Gear Live.[15] Hardware manufacturing partners include Asus, Broadcom, Fossil, HTC, Intel, LG, MediaTek, Imagination Technologies, Motorola, New Balance, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, Polar and TAG Heuer.[16]

In the first six months of availability, Canalys estimates that over 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped.[17] As of 15 January 2016, Android Wear had between one and five million application installations.[18] Android Wear was estimated to account for 10% of the smart watch market in 2015.[19]

History and Compatibility[edit]

The platform was announced on March 18, 2014, along with the release of a developer preview. At the same time, companies such as Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and Asus were announced as partners.[20] On June 25, 2014, at Google I/O, the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch were launched, along with further details about Android Wear. The LG G Watch is the first Android Wear smartwatch to be released and shipped. Motorola's Moto 360 was released on September 5, 2014.

On December 10, 2014, an update started to roll out, adding new features including a watch face API and changed the software to be based on Android 5.0 "Lollipop".[21]

The LG G Watch and Gear Live started shipping in July 2014, while the Moto 360 began shipping in September 2014. The next batch of Android Wear devices, which arrived at the end of 2014, included the Asus ZenWatch,[22] the Sony SmartWatch 3,[23] and the LG G Watch R.[24] As of March 2015, the latest Android Wear devices are the LG Watch Urbane,[25] and the Huawei Watch.[26]

On August 31, 2015, Google launched pairing application for iOS version 8.2 or newer, allowing limited support for receiving iOS notifications on smartwatches running Android Wear.[27] As of September 2015, only the LG Watch Urbane and Huawei Watch are supported, but Google announced support for more smartwatch models.[10][28]


Options include a screen always on feature and a "tilt to wake screen" setting,[29] to light the screen automatically.[30]

Users can find directions by voice from the phone, choose transport mode, including bike, and start a journey. While traveling, the watch shows directions, and vibrates to indicate turns by feel.[31]

Via Google Fit and similar applications, Android Wear supports ride and run tracking ("OK Google, start a run"). On devices sporting the needed sensor, heart activity can be sampled automatically through the day or on demand ("OK Google, what's my heart rate"). Step-counting, calorie expenditure etc. are also monitored. These features work within the Fit ecosystem, allowing integration with companion devices and applications. The watch reinforces achievements with cards noting goal attainment, when a goal is near, summaries of heart, and body activity.[32]

Users can use their Android Wear Watch to control their phone. Music can be requested (for instance, "OK Google, play Deep Purple"). The screen then shows a card for play-control, volume, skip, media images, allowing music to be controlled from the wrist with the user free to move.[31]


The vibration engine alerts users about important notifications originating from a user-selectable set of applications. Wear provides multiple options for replying, including Google Voice Typing for dictating responses to messages, and spoken or drawn emoticons.

Intelligent notifications from Google Now are supported including traffic, flights, hotel check-in, meeting alerts, location- and time-based reminders, weather and sport, stocks, flight status, boarding passes, restaurant bookings, etc.[31]

Users can receive messages sent to them via Google Hangouts, and respond with a voice message.[33] Users can also set the alarm by using 'Okay Google' on Android Wear. Currently new SMS can be initiated from the watch. Wear 5.1.1 supports drawing to reply, which uses AI to interpret the user's sketch as an emoji character. Search by voice is fully supported. Google Now searches such as "How tall is Nicole Kidman" result in Knowledge Graph cards appearing on screen, with options to open the search result on another device.[21]

If the phone's camera app is activated, the screen is relayed to the watch, and the user can control the shutter, and view photos on the watch. Third-party applications support using the phone camera as a streaming device, or more varied camera control.

Events appear as cards on screen. "OK Google, show my agenda" will display the user's agenda. Watch faces also support marking out appointments (for instance with contrasting color to show periods with an appointment, and/or illuminating a lighted "count-down" line for upcoming appointments.[31]

Note taking is fully supported via Google Keep and other note-apps, as is marking-off check lists etc. Via voice commands such as "OK Google, remind me to call Roy at work", or "Remind me to baste the chicken in 25 minutes" the user can create location and time-based reminders, set alarms, timers etc. which appear on the watch at the appropriate time or place.[9]

Many applications have been released, with developers such as Evernote etc. creating new functionality on the watch: for instance, handing off notes to the watch screen when the user turns off their phone screen. Location-based applications like Foursquare show suitable nearby venues, allow check-in etc.

Version history[edit]

Version Android base version Release date New features Notes
4.4W1 4.4 June 2014
  • Initial release
Announced on Google I/O 2014
4.4W2 4.4 October 2014
  • Offline music playback over bluetooth [34]
  • Watch GPS support (for watches with built-in GPS)[35]
  • New music control UI [36]
1.0[37] 5.0.1 December 2014
  • Official watch face API
  • Sunlight mode (brightness boost)
  • Theater mode
  • Settings shade from top
  • Battery stats in Android Wear app
  • Recently used actions added to the top in drawer
  • Ability to undo dismissed notification
This version changed the numbering scheme to be independent from the base Android version
1.1[38] 5.1.1 May 2015
  • Wi-Fi support (for watches with built-in Wi-Fi)
  • Drawable Emojis (as response to messages)
  • Heads up notifications
  • Pattern lock screen
  • Ability to change font size
  • Add swipe left from watch face to access app drawer
  • Always on apps
  • More wrist gestures
1.3[39] 5.1.1 August 2015
  • Interactive watch faces
  • Google Translate for Wear
1.4[40] 6.0.1 February 2016
  • More wrist gestures
  • Speaker support (for watches with built-in speaker)
  • Send voice messages directly from the watch
1.5[41] 6.0.1 June 2016
  • Brought back restart watch option
  • Added Android security patch level to About screen
2.0[42] 7.1.1 Feb 2017[43]
  • Revamped UI with Material Design, darker colors, and a more circular user interface for round watches.
  • Standalone apps with Google Play Store on watch
  • Complications for watch faces
  • Built-in keyboard
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Stackable notifications
  • Smarter notifications
  • Cellular Support


Announced on Google I/O 2016
2.6[45] 7.1.1 Nov 2017
  • Text size of notifications adapts to message length
  • New download progress indicator
  • New complication for launching previously-used app
2.6[46] 8.0.0 Dec 2017
  • Touch lock
  • Configurable notification vibration
  • Added languages

List of Android Wear devices[edit]

Brand Name Date Released RRP Notes
Asus ZenWatch November 9, 2014
Asus ZenWatch 2 September, 2015
Asus ZenWatch 3 December, 2016
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10 [47]
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F20 [48]
Elephone Ele
Fossil Q Explorist August 28, 2017 $255-$275 [49][50]
Fossil Q Founder
Fossil Q Marshal
Fossil Q Venture August 28, 2017 $255-$275 [51]
Fossil Q Wander
Huawei Watch September 2, 2015
Huawei Watch 2
Huawei Watch 2 Classic
LG G Watch June 25, 2014
LG G Watch R October 24, 2014
LG Watch Urbane April 27, 2015
LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition
LG Watch Sport Feb 9, 2017
LG Watch Style Feb 9, 2017
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon
Michael Kors Access [52]
Misfit Vapor
Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
Montblanc Summit
Motorola Moto 360 (1st generation) September 5, 2014
Motorola Moto 360 (2nd generation) September 14, 2015
Motorola Moto Sport
Nixon Mission
New Balance RunIQ Watch [53]
Polar M600
Samsung Gear Live June 25, 2014
Sony SmartWatch 3 November 2014
Tag Heuer Connected
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Verizon Wear24
ZTE Quartz

Coming Soon[edit]

  • Movado Connect[54]
  • Hugo Boss with the Touch
  • Tommy Hilfiger T24/7You
  • Diesel On
  • Guess Connect

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Android Code Analysis". Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Philosophy and Goals". Android Open Source Project. Google. Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2014-12-19. 
  3. ^ "libc – platform/bionic – Git at Google". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  4. ^ "android / platform/system/core / master / . / sh". Archived from the original on 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  5. ^ "toolbox – platform/system/core – Git at Google". Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  6. ^ "Developer Preview License Agreement | Android Developers". Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  7. ^ "Licenses". Android Open Source Project. Open Handset Alliance. Retrieved 2012-09-09. The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0. ... Why Apache Software License? ... For userspace (that is, non-kernel) software, we do in fact prefer ASL2.0 (and similar licenses like BSD, MIT, etc.) over other licenses such as LGPL. Android is about freedom and choice. The purpose of Android is promote openness in the mobile world, but we don't believe it's possible to predict or dictate all the uses to which people will want to put our software. So, while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so. Using LGPL libraries would often force them to do so. 
  8. ^ "Android Wear - Android Developers". Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Google reveals Android Wear, an operating system for smartwatches". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  10. ^ a b Al Sacco (31 August 2015). "Android Wear for iOS gives iPhone owners more smartwatch options". CIO. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "OK Google, tell me about Android Wear". 
  12. ^ "Android Wear gets cellular support, still needs to be paired with a phone". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  13. ^ "Moto 360: It's Time. - The Official Motorola Blog". 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  14. ^ "LG introduces G Watch, first smartwatch running on Android Wear". 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  15. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne. "This is the Gear Live, Samsung's $199 Android Wear smartwatch". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  16. ^ "Android Wear". Android Developers. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Just 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches shipped last year. Engadget. Retrieved 11 FEBRUARY 2015.
  18. ^ "Android Wear - Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  19. ^ "Apple Watch Claims Over 50% of 2015 Smartwatch Market in Less Than a Year of Sales - Juniper Research". Retrieved 2016-01-13. 
  20. ^ "Motorola, LG announce upcoming Android Wear smartwatches". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  21. ^ a b Amadeo, Ron (10 December 2015). "Android Wear gets Lollipop update, adds watch face API, new features". Ars Technica. Conde Nast. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "Phones - ASUS ZenWatch (WI500Q) - ASUS". 
  23. ^ "SmartWatch 3 SWR50". Sony Smartphones (Global UK English). 
  24. ^ "LG Newsroom". 
  25. ^ "LG Newsroom". 
  26. ^ Kellex (1 March 2015). "Huawei Makes the Huawei Watch Official, Other Wearables and a 7-Inch Phone Too". Droid Life. DRD Life Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Android Wear on iOS: A hobbled, Google-centric smartwatch experience". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  28. ^ "SmartWatchCrunch". 
  29. ^ Android Wear tips and tricks: The ultimate guide
  30. ^ 'Tilt to wake screen' Setting
  31. ^ a b c d "Android Wear software review: Smartwatch software that doesn't suck". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  32. ^ "Google Fit to curate steps, calories, heart rate, other biometric data". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  33. ^ "Android Wear Takes Industry Leading Smartphone Software to the Next Level". Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  34. ^ "[Android Wear 4.4W2 Feature Spotlight] This Is Offline Music Playback Over Bluetooth In Android Wear Using Play Music". Android Police. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  35. ^ "GPS on Android Wear Devices". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  36. ^ "[Android Wear 4.4W2 Feature Spotlight] Here Is The New Music Control UI For Wear, Now Including Volume Buttons". Android Police. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  37. ^ "Android Wear's massive update: Official watch face API, new display modes, app features and more!". Android Central. 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  38. ^ "Google Groups". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ Li, Abner (2016-06-06). "Android Wear 1.5 rolling out to the Gear Live with some minor changes [Update: more watches]". 9to5Google. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  42. ^ Statt, Nick (2016-05-18). "Google announces Android Wear 2.0 with standalone app support and tiny keyboard". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Android Wear 2.0 is a major overhaul of Google's smartwatch OS". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  45. ^ "Android Wear v2.6 includes a Recent app complication, network status indicators, download progress card, and more [APK Download]". Android Police. 2017-11-21. Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  46. ^ "Oreo for Android Wear is starting to roll out today". The Verge. 2017-12-07. 
  47. ^ "Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10 - CASIO". Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10 - CASIO. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  48. ^ "PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20 | Smart Outdoor Watch | CASIO". PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20 | Smart Outdoor Watch | CASIO. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  49. ^ "GEN 3 SMARTWATCH - Q EXPLORIST STAINLESS STEEL". Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  50. ^ "Hands on: Fossil Q Explorist review". Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  51. ^ "GEN 3 SMARTWATCH - Q VENTURE SAND LEATHER". Retrieved 2017-08-30. 
  52. ^ Wilhelm, Parker (9 March 2017). "Movado, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger to class up your wrist". Tech Radar. TechRadar. 
  53. ^ "NB RunIQ Watch". Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  54. ^ "Android Wear 2.0 watches from some big names in fashion are on the way". TechRadar. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 

External links[edit]