February 19, 2017
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Android 2.0 is here, and these smartwatches are getting the update

Good news! Looks like we won’t have to wait long for Android Wear 2.0—it’s finally here! The software overhaul comes with a few notable updates and so much more, giving the Apple Watch something to worry about.

The best and most notable update from version 1.5 is its capacity to run built-in apps without having a smartphone close by. Plus, it lets you customize the watch face, a built-in Play Store, and it’s updated to Google Fit.

Hands-free

To begin with, Android Wear is different from the standard Android we see in most devices. The software is designed for hands-free use in devices that are a lot smaller than smartphones and tablets, so the interface is drastically different.

Naturally, wearable devices are more reliant on motion sensing as part of its interface. You can, for example, access your smartwatch by simply bringing your wrist up to look at your smartwatch. This is especially useful when you get notifications from your smartphone and digging them out of your pocket or bag would be a little of a hassle if you’re in a hurry. In this way, wearable tech is a great companion to smartphones.

Android Wear 2.0 improves on this.

Usually, the notifications you see on your smartwatch are just copies from your smartphone. Now, the new Android Wear features the Google Assistant, giving your smartwatch the capacity to take data from your notifications and add related info to them, like adding weather information to a destination you’re in or traveling to.

It even figures out the things you might like or are useful to you based on your Google searches and provides you with the related information.

The interface is more streamlined so navigating is a breeze. Swipe up to see your notifications, swipe down to see the device’s settings, swipe left or right to go to the next card, the press the main button to see the apps list.

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An assistant on your wrist

One of the best parts about the update? Voice commands. The “Okay, Google” command lets you do a wide variety of tasks with the apps in your smartwatch. This is made better with the Google Assistant, which is better than most voice-activated AI (like Siri), understanding context and allowing follow-up questions.

Say you asked it a question like “what did Beyonce wear in the Grammys?”, you could follow it up with “how old is she?” Google Assistant will understand what you mean by “she”. Normally, most current AI only understands each question as its own thing. Google Assistant gets context which allows for a more natural communication.

With the update, your smartwatch is shaping up into a digital assistant from the convenience of you wrist. The Android Wear 2.0 lets you respond to messages sent to your phone through the use of Smart Replies, a small keyboard (that you have to swipe across to access), handwriting, or voice dictation.

Unlike the first Android Wear which required downloading apps straight from the smartphone, Wear 2.0 lets you access a version of the Google Play Store that’s compatible with your smartwatch. This is a stripped down version of the app, like most apps that you can access through Android Wear, so you can switch between Google Maps, Spotify, and Tindr from your smartwatch while making it easier to use in the device.

The Android Wear 2.0 is compatible with Android 4.3 or above and iOS 9 or above.

Inside Image_ZenWatch3

Is your smartwatch getting the update?

Though this seems to be good news for everyone with a smartwatch in general, not all smartwatches are going to get the update. Here’s a list of the confirmed smartwatches getting the update:

Moto 360 Sport

Asus ZenWatch 2

Asus ZenWatch 3

Fossil Q Wander

LG G Watch R

LG Watch Urbane

Fossil Q Founder

Huawei Watch

Moto 360 (2015)

Moto 360 For Women

New Balance RunIQ

Polar M600

Michael Kors Access Bradshaw

Michael Kors Access Dylan

Nixon Mission

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch

LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE

Casio PRO TEK Smart

TAG Heuer Connected