Google Rolls Out Lollipop Update for Android Wear, Highlights Watch Faces
If you’re one of many people out there that has already bought into Android Wear with devices like LG G Watch R, Samsung Gear Live, Sony SmartWatch 3 and Motorola Moto 360, you’ll be glad to know that Google is in the process of pushing out a rather big update for he platform in the coming week. The base operating system that powers Android Wear is getting an upgrade from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The Lollipop update implements API 21 and will roll out to users in an over-the-air (OTA) update. As for what’s new in Android 5.0 Lollipop for Android Wear, here’s the changelog from Google:
- Quickly bring a card back if you’ve accidentally dismissed it
- When you tap on the watch face, recently used actions and apps now appear at the top of the list
- Quickly access various settings by swiping down from the top of the screen
- Theater Mode lets you keep the screen off and mute vibrations when you're in a dark room
- Sunlight Mode temporarily boosts the screen to maximum brightness
- Easily block notifications from any app, directly from your watch
- View your apps’ usage of battery and storage (in the Android Wear app)
Google is also placing a heavy emphasis on watch faces, and has introduced a slew of new ones to the Google Play Store. There are a number of free watch face designs including licensed content featuring Despicable Me, Porsche, Red Bull, and Plant vs. Zombies. For those that love Pac-Man, you’ll have to fork over $0.99 for the retro watch face.
All of the watch faces are powered by the new Watch Face API, which is now available to developers. Google is warning developers to get on the ball, and start moving their watch faces to the new Watch Face API by January 31, 2015 “at which point we plan to remove support for watch faces that don't use the official API.”