Huawei's tilt towards Tizen is one of many setbacks that Android Wear has encountered this year. Earlier, despite its assurances to the contrary, Samsung decided to launch the Gear S3 smartwatch with TizenOS on-board which in fact didn't surprise many. A few Samsung representatives had previously confided to the media that TizenOS offers better battery efficiency than Android Wear, making Samsung's wearables last longer.
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There are also reports that the likes of LG and Lenovo may not launch any new smartwatches this year, making it pointless for Google to launch Android Wear 2.0 this year. Google may use the time to fine tune Android Wear further to ensure that it is competitive enough to lure enough smartwatch-makers next year too compete with the Apple Watch. As per reports, Google are doing exactly that.
Android Wear 2.0 is expected to evolve with increasing smartwatch capabilities unlike the ones that were launched in 2015. Today's smartwatches feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and some even feature in-built SIMs for internet data in places where Wi-Fi isn't available. Hence, Google is bringing in Pay Store integrations to let Android Wear smartwatches run standalone apps rather than depending on companion smartphones.
"With Play Store for Android Wear, users can browse recommended apps in the home view and search for apps using voice, keyboard, handwriting, and recommended queries, so they can find apps more easily. Users can switch between multiple accounts, be part of alpha and beta tests, and update or uninstall apps in the "My apps" view on their watch, so they can manage apps more easily," said Google, paving way for a significant change in how we use Android Wear smartwatches.
However, there's a chance that this may not work for everyone. Usually, those using fitness apps wear smartwatches during their sessions to track their performance and view detailed stats afterwards on the larger screens of their smartphones. If they use standalone fitness tracking smartwatch apps, they may not be so comfortable with the small circular screens, more so for those who use navigation apps. Making smartwatches more capable is one thing, asking them to offer the comforts of larger screens is another.
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According to Google, Android Wear 2.0 will also bring in a new on-screen keyboard which will let you reply to texts and notifications from chat apps using your voice, saving you the effort of trying to type on your smartwatch. Other enhancements include added permissions for apps requesting personal information and Google Allo-esque smart reply tools.
The news comes amid reports that several Android Wear smartwatches aren't able to connect to the Apple iPhone 7, despite being able to connect with other iOS 10 devices. The issue has been found in watches like ASUS ZenWatch, Moto 360 (both generations), LG G Watch, Fossil Q Founder, Mk and some Tag Heuer smartwatches. "Google has reported the issue to Apple, and the Android Wear team is actively working to fix this as soon as possible," said Ernest, an Android Wear team member on Google's online product forum.