Wear OS

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Wear OS
Wear OS logo.svg
Wear OS by Google wordmark.svg
Fossil Group, IFA 2018, Berlin (P1070137).jpg
The Fossil Q Venture (Gen 4) with Wear OS
DeveloperGoogle
Written inC (core), C++, Java[1]
OS familyUnix-like, Android
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source with closed source components[2]
Initial releaseMarch 18, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-03-18)
Latest releaseWear OS 2.2 (H) / November 18, 2018; 25 days ago (2018-11-18)
Latest previewHematite Developer Preview 2 (PWH1.180422.008) / May 9, 2018; 7 months ago (2018-05-09)
Marketing targetSmartwatches, other wearables
Available inMulti-lingual
Package managerAPK via Google Play
Platforms32-bit ARM, MIPS, x86
Kernel typeMonolithic (modified Linux kernel)
UserlandBionic libc,[3] shell from NetBSD,[4] native core utilities with a few from NetBSD[5]
Default user interfaceGraphical (Multi-touch)
LicenseDeveloper Preview: proprietary[6]
Apache License 2.0
Linux kernel patches under GNU GPL v2[7]
Official websitewearos.google.com

Wear OS,[8] formally known as Wear OS by Google, and previously known as Android Wear, is a version of Google's Android operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearables.[9][10] 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,[11] Wear OS integrates Google Assistant[12] technology and mobile notifications into a smartwatch form factor.

Wear OS supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,[13] 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,[14] the LG G Watch,[15] and the Samsung Gear Live.[16] Hardware manufacturing partners include Asus, Broadcom, Fossil, HTC, Intel, LG, MediaTek, Imagination Technologies, Motorola, New Balance, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, Polar and TAG Heuer, Mobvoi.[17]

In the first six months of availability, Canalys estimates that over 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped.[18] As of 15 March 2018, Wear OS had between 10 and 50 million application installations.[19] Wear OS was estimated to account for 10% of the smart watch market in 2015.[20]

History and compatibility[edit]

Logo for Android Wear, the previous name of the operating system

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.[21] 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".[22]

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,[23] the Sony SmartWatch 3,[24] and the LG G Watch R.[25] As of March 2015, the latest Wear OS devices are the LG Watch Urbane,[26] and the Huawei Watch.[27]

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 Wear OS.[28] As of September 2015, only the LG Watch Urbane and Huawei Watch are supported, but Google announced support for more smartwatch models.[11][29]

Features[edit]

Options include a screen always on feature and a "tilt to wake screen" setting,[30] to light the screen automatically.[31]

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.[32]

Via Google Fit and similar applications, Wear OS 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.[33]

Users can use their Wear OS 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.[32]

Starting with version 2.16 users can swipe right to bring up an Assistant page with useful information similar to the Android Assistant on phones, or swipe left to display Google Fit information. This replaces the old functionality of swiping left or right to change the watch face.[34]

Notifications[edit]

The vibration engine alerts users about important notifications originating from a user-selectable set of applications. Wear OS 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.[32]

Users can receive messages sent to them via Google Hangouts, and respond with a voice message.[35] Users can also set the alarm by using 'Okay Google' on Wear OS. Currently new SMS can be initiated from the watch. Wear OS 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.[22]

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.[32]

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.[10]

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]

Android Wear[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 [36]
  • Watch GPS support (for watches with built-in GPS)[37]
  • New music control UI [38]
1.0[39] 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[40] 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[41] 5.1.1 August 2015
  • Interactive watch faces
  • Google Translate for Wear
1.4[42] 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[43] 6.0.1 June 2016
  • Brought back restart watch option
  • Added Android security patch level to About screen
2.0[44] 7.1.1 Feb 2017[45]
  • 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

[46]

Announced at Google I/O 2016
2.6[47] 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[48] 7.1.1/8.0.0 Dec 2017
  • Touch lock
  • Configurable notification vibration
  • Added languages
2.7[49] 7.1.1/8.0.0 Dec 2017
  • Improved typefaces and font weights
  • Complications now work with Talkback
  • Text size of notifications adapts to message length
  • Swipe down in Quick Settings to see connection type (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or mobile)
  • Download progress notifications
  • Recent App complication
  • Better prevention of accidental side-swipe and long-press gestures
2.8[50] 7.1.1/8.0.0 Jan 2018
  • Improved notification glanceability with a new layout which shows more of the user's message at a glance
  • Darker background for better readability and less battery usage
2.9[51] 7.1.1/8.0.0 Feb 2018
  • New notification preview complication which allows you to preview messages
  • Improved glanceability in notification cards with longer titles

Wear OS[edit]

Version Android base version Release date New features Notes
Wear OS 1.0[52] 7.1.1/8.0.0 Mar 2018
  • Rebranding to Wear OS[53]
Version numbers reset to "Wear OS 1.0" (2.10[54])
Wear OS 1.1 7.1.1/8.0.0 April 2018 2.11[55]
Wear OS 1.2 7.1.1/8.0.0 May 2018 2.12[56]
Wear OS 1.3 7.1.1/8.0.0 June 2018 2.13[57]
Wear OS 1.4 7.1.1/8.0.0 July 2018
  • Faster startup of Google Pay
  • More glanceable design for events & appointments
  • Time zone sync bug fix[58]
2.14[59]
Wear OS 1.5 7.1.1/8.0.0 August 2018 2.15[60]
Wear OS 1.6 7.1.1/8.0.0 September 2018 2.16[61]
Wear OS 1.7 7.1.1/8.0.0 October 2018
  • Bolder font in the app launcher
2.17[62]
Wear OS 2.0 7.1.1/8.0.0 August 2018
  • Swipe actions for faster access to Google Assistant and Google Fit[63]
  • Google Assistant feed with proactive personalized information
  • New design for quick toggles and notifications stream
  • New music controls with physical button support
Wear OS 2.1 7.1.1/8.0.0 September 2018
Wear OS 2.2 9.0 November 2018
  • Brings Android 9.0 Pie to Smartwatches
  • This update extends your battery life even further by turning on Battery Saver to only display the time once your battery falls below 10%.
  • You can now easily pick up where you left off across all apps on your watch.
  • After 30 minutes of inactivity, your watch will go into deep sleep mode to conserve battery.
  • You can now turn off your watch in two easy steps. To turn off your watch, simply hold the power button until you see the power off screen and then select ‘power off’ or ‘restart’
Known as System version H

List of Wear OS devices[edit]

Brand Name Date Released Latest OS Version RAM NFC Battery RRP Notes
Asus ZenWatch November 9, 2014 1.5[64]
ZenWatch 2 September, 2015 2.17[65]
ZenWatch 3 November, 2016 2.17[66] $229
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10 March 25, 2016 2.6[65] $500 [67]
Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F20 April 21, 2017 2.6[65] $500 [68]
Elephone Ele 2.0[64] $125
Fossil Q Marshal March 15, 2016 Wear OS 2.0 $255 [69]
Q Wander March 15, 2016 2.1[70] $295[71] [69]
Q Explorist (Gen 3) August 28, 2017 2.15 $255-$275 [72][73]
Q Venture (Gen 3) August 28, 2017 2.9[65] $255-$275 [74]
Q Founder October 5, 2017 2.16 $300
Q Control November 12, 2017 2.10[65] $275
Q Explorist (Gen 4) August 6, 2018 2.17 $275
Q Venture (Gen 4) August 6, 2018
Huawei Watch April 18 2017 2.17
Watch 2 April 18 2017 2.15[65] $299-$400
Watch 2 Classic April 18 2017 2.9[65]
LG G Watch June 25, 2014 1.5[64]
G Watch R 2.17
Watch Urbane April 27, 2015 2.17
Watch Urbane 2nd Edition 2.15
Watch Sport Feb 9, 2017 2.15[65] 768M Yes 430mAh $349.99
Watch Style Feb 9, 2017 2.15[65] 512M No 240mAh $249.99
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon 2.6[65]
Michael Kors Access 2.6[65] [75]
Misfit Vapor October 31, 2017 Wear OS 2.1[65] No $199.99
Vapor 2 2018 512MB Yes 300/330mAh
Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E 2.0[65] 512MB No $159.99 (E)
Ticwatch Pro July 10, 2018 Wear OS 2.2 512MB Yes 415mAh $249.99
Ticwatch C2 512MB Yes 400mAh €179.99
Montblanc Summit 2.6[65]
Motorola Moto 360 (1st generation) September 5, 2014 1.5[64]
Moto 360 (2nd generation) 2.17
Moto 360 Sport 2.9[64]
Nixon Mission 2.6[65]
New Balance RunIQ Watch 2.15[64] [76]
Polar M600 Wear OS 2.1[77]
Samsung Gear Live June 25, 2014 1.5[64]
Sony SmartWatch 3 November 2014 1.5[64]
Tag Heuer Connected 2.0[64]
Connected Modular 45 2.6[65]
Verizon Wear24 February 8, 2017 2.17
ZTE Quartz 2.6[65]

Coming Soon[edit]

  • Hugo Boss with the Touch
  • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You[65]
  • Diesel On
  • Guess Connect[65]
  • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch[65]
  • Movado Connect[65]
  • Gc Connect[65]
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw[65]
  • Michael Kors Access Dylan[65]
  • Michael Kors Access Grayson[65]
  • Diesel Full Guard[65]
  • Emporio Armani Connected[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]