What App Developers Can Expect From Android Wear 2.0

Smartwatch application development is slowly catching up with android mobile applications development apparently. With the growing demand for Android Wear powered smartwatches, Google was expected to bring in some much needed upgrades for the software. And they delivered on their promise at the I/O 2016 developer conference, by announcing a full overhaul of Android Wear – the Android Wear 2.0.

The Developer preview 2 of Android wear 2.0 was recently released much to the delight of android developers who wish to get their apps ready for launch.

The preview is packed with features, of which the most important ones are:

  • Android Platform API 24 (matching Android Nougat)
  • Wrist Gesture commands for third-party applications
  • Wearable Drawers enhancements

API 24

An upgrade to the present platform, the API 24 now matches Android’s upcoming Nougat 7.0. Developers can now update the compileSdkVersion of their Android Wear 2.0 preview project to API 24. In addition to this, Google also recommends updating targetSdkVersion to API 24.

API 24 brings in a lot of fun features from live background options to music album art options.

Wrist Gesture

Earlier, only the users were able to use wrist gestures feature, mostly to scroll through the notification stream. The developer preview 2 has now extended this functionality to the developers so they can use it within their applications. The purpose is to improve single hand usage experience, effectively making the smartwatch much handier when it comes to multi-tasking.

Wearable Drawers enhancement

Wearable drawers first came along with the Preview 1 of Android Wear 2.0. UX guidelines were also provided to help users integrate the action drawer and navigation drawer in Android Wear.

Developer preview 2 comes with more support for wearable drawer peeking. With this, users can now access the drawers as they scroll. Some other great UI improvements include:

  • Navigation drawer closure
  • Automatic peek view

The first action will be now shown in WearableActionDrawer’s peek view.

Google also added a few attributes for developers that let them build custom wearable drawers. The WearableDrawerView now have ‘peek_view’ and ‘drawer_content’ attributes. To update navigation drawer contents, all they need to do is call ‘notifyDataSetChanged’.

Android Wear 2.0 will be out in a few months as an OTA update. However, only a few older model smartwatches will be eligible for the upgrade. The full list of devices that’ll be getting the update will be released soon.