Google releases Android Wear 2.0, Developer Preview 4

02 Mar. 17

People among us using Android wear are not willing to share an opinion that the wearable app development can do much better. At present most of the common functions of android wear smartwatch just revolve across notifications, fitness tracking, timekeeping or weather. The more business people among us would argue for the possible uses of Android wear, but for the average user, it becomes difficult to justify the added expense of a smart watch.

Smart watches are struggling in the market and many of them even declined to upgrade their smartwatch. However, Google itself gave up on the fledgling wearable app development. The company pinned to its hopes on a huge upcoming update to the android wear. Recently, during the announcement of Google, Android 2.0 update promised to introduce support for standalone android app development for wearables with a streamlined interface. Today, Google is continuing to increase its smartwatch platform with the arrival of Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 4.


1. Consistent authentication

Google allows Wear-based apps to tap in the credentials of the paired smartphone. This enables users signing into the apps on their smartphone abjure the headache of entering the username and password for different services. Developers can also use OAuth API for android wear to authenticate application with server side APIs directly. The applications requesting for Google account credentials will feature sign-in with just one click.

2. In-app Billing

Android Wear 2.0, will now allow the developers to implement in-app purchases directly into their wear app. The users will not need to put off smartphone control for authorization of purchases. Instead of that, the user can enter 4-digit Google PIN to authorize the purchase immediately.

3. Cross-device Promotion

Developers who are cautious of developing different wearable app development just because the user experience on the standalone watch application would be a substitute, will now no longer have to worry. Google is introduced two new APIs, PlayStoreAvailability and RemoteIntent. This helps users navigate their device to the Play Store, to install smartphone component of their Wear app. Moreover, developers can also use Custom URLs on the smartphone from the watch with the help of RemoteIntent API; without phone app or data layer.

4. Getting back to Swipe-to-dismiss

Google has been looking forward to developers feedback during the course of Developer previews. It will also bring back a key Android wear 1.0 feature that it had  discarded in the build of last preview. Because of some reasons, Google decided to change the swipe gesture behavior in the third Developer preview. The company instead chose to develop the power button to work as a back button, so that developers could intercept. Following API changes are done in support to swipe-to-dismiss:

  • Swipe to dismiss is automatically supported: Swiping from left to right results in being dismissed and the app traverse down back stack.
  • Latest Fragmentation and View support:  Developers can enclose the containing views of a fragment or views in common in the new SwipeDismissFrameLayout to execute custom actions like navigating down the back stack when the user swipes instead of exiting the activity.
  • Mapping to power with the help of Hardware button instead of back that entails it can no longer be blocked by apps.

5. Android Wear 1.0 Compatible

Android Wear 1.0 apps are compatible with the wear 2.0. Once you install the application on your smartphone with Wear 1.0 component, the system gives notification asking if you would like to install the wear component. The user can have the option to choose to install the app lately. This is done by navigating the Wear-based Play Store for a section called “Apps you’ve used.”

In Spite of support for the existing mechanism, there are notable benefits for the applications that follow the mechanism of transition to the multi-APK delivery. Multi-APK enables the app to be searchable in the Play Store on Android Wear. This makes it eligible for merchandising on the dashboard, and to be remotely installed from the web to the watch. And thus, we strongly recommend developers to move to multi-APK.

6. Additional Features in Developer Preview 4

  • Action and Navigation Drawers: Users can get rid of scrolling all the way to the top or bottom of the list. Furthermore, developers can fine-tune drawer peaking behavior with the help of new APIs like setShouldPeekOnScrollDown for the action drawer.
  • WearableRecyclerView: The new feature is opt-in and WearableRecyclerView is drop-in replacement for the RecyclerView.
  • Burn-in protection icon for complications: Complications data providers can provide icons for the need on screen susceptible to burn-in. These are in general the outline of the icon in the interactive mode. Before, watch faces might choose not to display the icon at all in an ambient mode to get rid of screen burn-in.


Google also outlined many other minor updates for complications to the Wear 2.0 platform. The Developer preview 4 is not the end of the road, Google is about to release preview 5 as well. The final version of this platform is expected to see a public release sometime this year in 2017.

Want to discuss more about Android Wear or in need of any wearable app development?  Get a quote from our experts


Sunil Veluri
Posted by Sunil Veluri

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