Two years after the first iteration and spending a considerable amount of time in the Developer preview, Google has officially released Android Wear 2.0 platform. There has been some major improvements and lots of new feature additions. On a quick glance, we have now new informative watch faces, standalone apps, more fitness tracking, Google Assistant, and mobile payments.

With the new platform, comes the new hardware. Google has partnered with LG to launch two new watches running Android Wear 2.0. The stylish and low profile LG Watch Style and power packed feature-rich LG Watch Sport. If you have already owned an Android smartwatch (brought around one year time), then you would probably start receiving the new update in the coming months.

Android Wear 2.0 – Make the most of every minute

Smartwatches are still in the nascent stage. Other than fitness aspect, it’s got limited functionality that mobile in your pocket can’t do. Coming a long way from its first iteration, Android Wear 2.0 platform brings in the much-needed refresh to the smartwatch industry. Let’s dig deep on what’s new with Android Wear 2.0 platform.

Standalone apps

With Android Wear 2.0 you won’t need to carry around the smartphone to send and receive data to you smartwatch app. Like your smartphone apps, you can install fully functional apps directly on your smartwatch. There will be a new section on Google Play store where you can download the dedicated apps for a smartwatch. If your smartwatch got 3G/4G network support then you can make calls and use apps no matter where your phone is.

Google releases Android Wear 2.0, launches LG Watch Style and Sport
Google Assistant

A personal assistant that bring the power of artificial intelligent to your wrist. Google Assistant debut recently with Google Home and Google Pixel smartphones. With Android Wear 2.0, Google Assistant comes to watches using which you can find answers and get things done hands-free. It’s more feature rich version of Google Now you already use. You can get a range of task done with the personal assistant, like ask about the weather, set reminders, book a cab, make a restaurant reservation and more. It works just by saying ‘Ok Google’ or holding down the power button.

More watch faces

Android Wear 2.0 takes the personalization to a new level with an always-on watch face that offers more information and actions from your favorite apps. It now comes with Complication API which helps developers to add data from apps on their watch faces. It’s just like you add those widgets on the smartphone home pages.

Better Fitness tracking

One of the major reason of owning a smartwatch would be the fitness tracking. The new Activity Recognition API with Google Fit will let you now track pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate for different workout scenarios like walking, running or cycling. It can also track weight-lifting reps, push-ups, sit-ups and squats. Third-party apps can also utilize this fitness data to offer specialist fitness advice.

Notification and Quick reply

With Android Wear 2.0, when you receive a message from apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, you can expand the notification and tap to respond instantly. Android Wear now supports different inputs methods like dictating, typing, handwriting your answer or drawing an emoji. For even faster replies you can get the Smart Reply which intelligently suggests different responses based on the message you received.

In Android Wear 2.0 notifications won’t take the entire watch face cluttering your view. Instead, you will now see a smaller notification icon waiting for interaction. The notification will also come up in full when you raise your watch to read it.

Android Wear 2.0 updates

So, which all smartwatches get the latest Android Wear 2.0 update? Google has released a comprehensive list of smartwatches which be getting Android Wear 2.0 in the coming months. This include ASUS ZenWatch 2 and  ZenWatch 3, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart, Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Huawei Watch, LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE, Michael Kors Access Smartwatches, Moto 360 2nd Gen, Moto 360 for Women, Moto 360 Sport, New Balance RunIQ, Nixon Mission, Polar M600 and TAG Heuer Connected.

LG Watch Style and Sport with Android Wear 2.0

Along with the Android Wear 2.0, Google has partnered with LG to launch two new Android smartwatches – LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport. Both smartwatches pack a powerful Snapdragon processor, Google Assistant, water and dust resistant, NFC for mobile payments, and better connectivity options. As for the pricing, LG Watch Style comes with a price tag of $249 (around Rs 16,600). Whereas LG Watch Sport got a price tag of $349 (around Rs 24,000). We expect these smartwatches to launch in India within a couple of months.

LG Watch Style and Sport with Android Wear 2.0

The LG Watch Style is thinner and comes in three classic designs – Silver, Rose gold and Titanium. It flaunts a smaller yet brighter display with its 1.2-inch P-OLED 360×360 pixel screen. Under the hood, the smartwatch powered by 1.2GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 quad-core processor coupled with 512MB of RAM. The smartwatch got 4GB of internal storage and comes with a battery capacity of 240mAh. As for connectivity, the smartwatch supports WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE.

FeaturesLG Watch StyleLG Watch Sport
Display1.2-inch P-OLED (360×360 pixel)1.38-inch P-OLED (480×480 pixel)
Processor1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon Wear 21001.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon Wear 2100
Storage4GB eMMC
IP RatingIP67IP68
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n,  Bluetooth 4.2 LE4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC

The much powerful LG Watch Sport packs a high-performance elastomer strap, NFC for payments, GPS for tracking exercise and navigation, a heart rate sensor for your workouts, and 3G/4G LTE cellular connectivity. The smartwatch flaunts 1.38-inch P-OLED 480×480 pixel display. Under the hood, it runs the same 1.2GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 quad-core processor coupled with 768MB of RAM. The smartwatch got IP68 dust and water resistance rating and packs a bigger 430mAh battery.

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