Android Wear an OS that runs on smartwatches and recently, at the I/O 2016 event, Google has announced new features that will make this OS far more functional and fun. In fact, it may end up being so great that it will rival the Apple Watch.

Although there are some rumors and discussions about the Android Wear platform and about Samsung opting for a different OS for its smartwatches, Google representatives have stated that is not the case. Here is what we know about the Android Wear 2.0 platform.

Release Date

There wasn’t a precise date of release mentioned by Google at the event. However, it did say that it will happen sometime this year. Also, release dates will also depend on the manufacturer.

But if you really want to try it now, you can get the dev preview. Keep in mind that it will only work on LG Urbane 2 or a Huawei Watch.

Keyboard

One of the more practical features that will be implemented into it is the following: typing text directly into the watch. On top of that, it will also sport handwriting recognition software. All of these will make sending messages far more convenient than before. It can also allow you to dictate responses or offer you canned replies – which are useful but slightly inconvenient at times.



Watch Face complications

Android Wear will bring a new feature for Watch Faces entitled ‘Complications’ which will display data such as number of emails, battery level, step count and it will even pull data from third party apps and system processes.

Material design

The Android Wear 2.0 will feature a darker design meant primarily for the round devices – because that’s how the majority of Google’s smartwatches are. It also comes with a new launcher which won’t scroll the apps in a straight list anymore, but it will scroll them around the side of the Watch Face. This means that more of the apps on your smartwatch will be visible and it equals more functionality. On top of all this, the notification icons will be smaller.

Standalone apps

This is a great opportunity for both Android Wear and iPhone users, as Google has released standalone apps which can be downloaded directly into the watch or on the iPhone – and you can use the latter at the same capabilities you would use an Android Wear device.

Fitness detection

This feature is related to the Google Fit app which will detect the user’s activity be it running, cycling or walking and it will record it automatically.

Looking for a new gadget? How about a Drone? You know you want one!