What's New in Google's Long-Awaited Android Wear 2.0

1 - What's New in Google's Long-Awaited Android Wear 2.0
2 - Android Wear 2.0 Has a More Useful Watch Face
3 - It Now Has Its Own App Marketplace for Wearables
4 - There Are New Fitness Features
5 - Message Handling Is Improved
6 - Messages Work with Third-Party Apps
7 - Google Assistant Is Standing By
8 - Google Partners with LT on Hardware Design
9 - The New OS Supports Other Available Smartwatches
10 - Google Hasn't Discussed Broad Developer Support
11 - Android Wear 2.0 Is Available Feb. 10
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What's New in Google's Long-Awaited Android Wear 2.0

Google has released Android Wear 2.0, the company’s latest wearable operating system  Android Wear 2.0 was introduced at Google’s I/O Conference in May and was supposed to be released late last year. But after unexpected delays, Google was forced to push back its release. On Feb. 8, Google finally took the wraps off Android Wear 2.0 and announced it will be available, along with two new smart watches from LG Electronics. The operating system comes with several improvements over its predecessor, including access to an Android Wear app marketplace; support for Google Assistant, the company’s new virtual personal assistant; and additional fitness features. Android Wear 2.0 also boasts some big improvements to its messaging capability. But many existing and prospective wearable device users might be wondering whether it's worth upgrading to Android Wear 2.0.

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Android Wear 2.0 Has a More Useful Watch Face

The watch face has gotten a makeover in Android Wear 2.0. It’s always lit up in the new version, so users can see the time, check out notifications and more without having to lift their wrist. It also can be personalized far more extensively than in the original version, allowing users to choose which data to display.

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It Now Has Its Own App Marketplace for Wearables

Android Wear 2.0 comes with a built-in app marketplace with programs designed specifically for the operating system and wearable devices. Android Wear users no longer must use an app marketplace that mainly services other devices.

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There Are New Fitness Features

Apparently responding to those who want a fitness tracker, Google added pace- and distance-tracking as well as data on burned calories and heart rate in Android Wear 2.0. It even measures reps during weight lifting, situps and squats. Google Fit, the company’s fitness app, is still included as well.

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Message Handling Is Improved

In Android Wear 2.0, users can expand a message notification and respond right there without opening the operating system. Users can send voice and text messages, as well as digitally handwritten responses and emoji.

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Messages Work with Third-Party Apps

Android Wear 2.0’s messaging features will be extended to third-party apps. According to Google, all of the response methods built into the operating system also will be available on Facebook Messenger, Glide, Telegram and other apps.

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Google Assistant Is Standing By

Google Assistant, the company’s latest virtual personal assistant, is fully supported in Android Wear 2.0. Users can ask their smartwatch questions, set reminders, create to-do lists and more. The feature is activated by saying “OK, Google,” or by holding down the power button on a watch.

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Google Partners with LT on Hardware Design

Google didn’t make its own hardware for Android Wear 2.0, but did work closely with LG to deliver new devices. LG is offering both the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport to kick off Android Wear 2.0’s release. Both devices come with powerful processors and stylish designs. The LG Watch Sport features near-field communication, GPS and even cellular connectivity. Both devices will be available starting Feb. 10.

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The New OS Supports Other Available Smartwatches

Existing Android Wear device owners will be able to use the new operating system, but not all devices are supported. Google has released a list of supported devices, which include Asus ZenWatch 2 and 3, Huawei Watch, Moto 360 2nd Gen and Michael Kors Access Smartwatches. Some older devices won’t be able to run Android Wear 2.0.

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Google Hasn't Discussed Broad Developer Support

Google hasn’t shared much information on app support for Android Wear 2.0. It’s believed that most of the developers that support the operating system already will continue to do so in the newly available marketplace. However, app developer support depends on how popular Android Wear devices are with consumers.

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Android Wear 2.0 Is Available Feb. 10

Android Wear 2.0 devices, including the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, are slated to be available to customers Feb. 10. Those who want to run Android Wear 2.0 on their existing devices can upgrade via an over-the-air update within the next few of weeks. 

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