Google Updates Android Wear Smartwatch Platform To Oreo

Android Wear, the customized and lightweight version of Google's full-fledged Android platform for smartphones, had fallen a little behind with Google having launched Android 8 (Oreo) several months ago. That just changed, however, as there is a new version of Android Wear that is based on Oreo, and it has already begun rolling out to device makers. As to when consumers will see an update, that is entirely up to each smartwatch manufacturer.

Android Wear

Prior to this update, the latest version of Android (2.0) was based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Google began beta testing an Oreo build around a month that initially was only available for LG's Watch Sport. Having presumably squashed any major bugs and polished things up, manufacturers can start customizing new builds based on the official release.

Some of the notable improvements that Oreo brings to the smartwatch game include:
  • Notification vibration strength settings
  • Touch lock option for wet conditions
  • Support for 7 new countries and languages
The countries and languages that were added include Belgium (Dutch), Czech Republic (Czech), El Salvador (Spanish), Honduras (Spanish), Nigeria (English), Paraguay (Spanish), and Portugal (Spanish).

Android Wear based on Oreo also includes other enhancements, such as notification channels and battery saving background limits. Google did not specific what kinds of battery life gains can be expected, but when it comes to wearables (or any mobile device, really), every little bit helps.

We will have to wait and see what impact, if any, updating to Oreo has on Android Wear's share of the smartphone OS market. In the first quarter of 2017, Samsung's Tizen platform overtook Android Wear for second place with a 19 percent share, edging out Android Wear at 18 percent. Both trailed Apple's watchOS, which ended the quarter with a dominating 57 percent share.