Google Wear OS Developer Preview Launches With Battery Optimizations And Android P Hooks

Earlier this month word was going around that Google might be rebranding its Android Wear wearables operating system to Wear OS. That rebrand has happened and the very first developer preview of the new operating system is now available. There are a couple caveats to this early developer preview of the OS, with the biggest being that Wear OS is only supported on two Huawei smartwatches.

google wear os

The supported devices include the Huawei Watch 2 and Huawei Watch 2 Classic, and this release is in no way geared toward everyday consumers.

Google is specifically calling attention to a few features of Wear OS in the developer preview. Google wrote, “To improve app compatibility, Android P has started the process of restricting access to non-SDK methods and fields. Developers should make plans to migrate away from these. If there is no public equivalent for your use case, please let us know.”

Wear OS has a dark UI system theme for enhanced glanceability. This darker UI theme has a darker/black background for notifications stream and system launcher. Google warns developers to check the accessibility of their apps UI after the change is made. Wear OS will also limit background activity to improve overall battery performance.

Google wrote, “To improve power, apps will no longer be allowed to run in the background unless the watch is on the charger. Developers should note that Wear OS is going further with Android's app standby feature than some other form factors. Exceptions to this include watch faces and complications that the user currently has selected.”

Wear OS also has the ability to turn off the radios (Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular) when the wearable is not attached to your wrist body. This yet another way to improve power consumption. However, this feature can be disabled if it causes a problem for the developers. Wi-Fi is also turned off when Bluetooth is disconnected.

You can grab that Wear OS Developer Preview right here.