In case you haven’t heard, Android Wear 2.0 is here. Well, almost here. The first two watches to run it will be released on February 10, and within weeks, a whole assortment of new and old watches will be able to take advantage of the new features, which are nearly nine months in the making.
But while the new version of Android Wear isn’t all that different from the version that was previewed at Google I/O last May, it is a pretty major upgrade to the long-in-the-tooth wearable OS on current watches. It’s not a complete overhaul of Google’s original concept, but it adds and changes enough things to make the overall experience feel fresh and new, and whether you have an old watch or plan on buying one of the new ones, you’ll be able to dive right in without needing to learn a whole new set of instructions.
Here are some of the highlights of the new Android Wear overhaul you should check out first.
It’s easier to navigate menus and change watch faces in Android Wear 2.0.
Learn the layout
The first version of Android Wear wasn’t exactly complicated, but it also wasn’t as intuitive as it could be. With the second release, Google has simplified things all throughout the system, from the way we change watch faces to how we access notifications. There’s a new circular interface for selecting apps, direct access to Google Assistant via the power button, and, with the new LG-Google watches, easier scrolling and selecting with the rotating crown. Everything is friendlier and simpler, and this time around, your first instinct is probably the right one.
With a Play Store right on your watch, Android Wear 2.0 makes it easy to discover new apps.
Check out the Play Store
Apps on our watches aren’t as necessary as they are on our phone, but it’s still fun to check out what’s new in the Play Store. With Wear 2.0, you won’t even need a phone to do it. Head into the app screen and you’ll find a new Play Store icon, which will let you explore and install apps just like you would on your phone. It’s fast and convenient, and it also means you won’t need to clutter your phone up with a bunch of apps you might not need. And now, even iPhone users can get in on the fun. Only a handful are available at launch—among Google’s own offerings, AccuWeather, Foursquare, Telegram, and Uber—but many more will surely be landing soon.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.