Google's Android Wear 2.0 plays catch-up with Apple's watchOS 3, offers some unique touche...

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in Apple Watch
In time for two new LG smartwatches, the Watch Sport and Watch Style, Google on Wedndesday launched Android Wear 2.0, an updated OS meant to put Android watches on par -- or at least closer to par -- with the Apple Watch. Here's how the new software compares with Apple's watchOS 3.


Similarities

Android Wear 2.0 now allows complications from any app for any watchface, so long as the face supports complications in the first place. In 1.x, only first-party complications were available.

This matches watchOS 3's complications setup, and indeed Android users can now quickly swipe between watchfaces when customizing them, much like the watchOS 3 carousel.

GPS-enabled Wear 2.0 devices have also gained the ability to track location without a nearby phone, something offered in the Apple Watch Series 2. This can be particarly important to runners, who may want to track a route without carrying their phone in a pocket or armband.




Android owners can now also use Android Pay from an NFC-equipped watch, which operates much like Apple Pay. Notably, Apple Pay has been present in watchOS since the Apple Watch's 2015 debut.

Another catch-up is in support for having different apps on a watch versus a phone. In the past, Android would automatically install any Wear versions of an app without a way of disabling them.

Lastly, Wear 2.0 offers both a tracing keyboard and handwriting recognition. While the former is unique to Android, Apple has the latter in watchOS 3.

Differences

Wear 2.0 includes a new overall interface design, integrated with Google Assistant, which is often considered more advanced than Apple's Siri. It can for instance recognize context, which enables follow-up questions without repeating all the details of initial ones.

Critically, Android watches can make use of LTE, allowing them to operate fully independently of a phone for tasks like messaging, navigation, or streaming music. Apple is thought to be working on cellular support for a future Watch, but that may only arrive in late 2017 at the earliest.




Along those lines, Wear 2.0 even includes its own version of the Google Play Store, which lets people browse, buy, and download apps and watchfaces without a phone. This may finally make it a realistic option to use Android watch alongside an iPhone, since in that scenario it was previously impossible to install third-party apps. Apple Watches can't access the App Store on their own.

Fitness enthusiasts may appreciate automatic workout detection for Google Fit and other health apps, which can even include guidance on technique. While there is some workout detection on the Apple Watch -- that's how Activity rings are filled -- watchOS won't, for example, open the native Workout app.

When messaging Wear 2.0 offers Smart Replies similar to the canned responses in watchOS, but with contextual awareness, for instance showing different options for a reply in Slack versus SMS. These can also adapt based on the time of day.

Apple is likely to close some gaps with Wear 2.0 later this year via a new Apple Watch and/or a "watchOS 4" release, which will likely be previewed at June's Worldwide Developers Conference ahead of a fall release. In the interim Apple is adding features like a Theater Mode and SiriKit in watchOS 3.2.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    calicali Posts: 2,970member
    Why are we giving any attention to this dead platform? Let it die. 
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 37
    It's already too late, and merely playing catch up isn't going to convince a bunch of tier 2 brands to send good money after bad.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 37
    First of all, I hate Hate HATE the round smart watches.  Secondly, I would like automatic workout detection since I haven't once remembered to start the workout app on my watch.  

    But . . . the features of the Google watches really don't matter to me. The most important thing about Apple products generally is that they do what I really need and they do it really, really well.   Android stuff has a taint for me that I don't think can be removed (security, IP theft, exploding devices, etc.).  But if they managed that, I still wouldn't be interested until they get to the point of really working well.
    radarthekatcaligilly017watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 37
    williamh said:
    First of all, I hate Hate HATE the round smart watches.  Secondly, I would like automatic workout detection since I haven't once remembered to start the workout app on my watch.  
    Agree, but with me it's forgetting to turn the workout off after finishing. I drive home from the gym, check the time, and see that my treadmill walk is still on! It sort of knows this by stopping the distance, but the workout time is still ticking away. Needs to be more proactive by giving an alert when it senses that I have sgotten off the treadmill. 
    manfred zorncaliStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 37
    Let me just put in my (possibly worthless) two cents, I think where Apple nailed it is with the bands.  I know with all the other technologies these things offer, putting emphasis on the band is pretty silly right?  Well, not in my opinion.  The thing that makes Apple Watches so appealing outside of their technology is they just look darn awesome with their bands.  There are so many to choose from and Apple does a great thing by showing you a Watch face and colors and complement that band perfectly.  These Android Wear 2.0 watch while cool...I think don't have very appealing bands.  I suppose it is all subjective, but like I said just my two cents.  I'm glad Apple put as much thought into their bands as the watch itself.

    By the way, I was an early adopter and got my Apple Watch only a few weeks after it was initially released.  Back then, hardly anyone had one on.  This year, I see them on so many people.  Each one with a different type of band...so happy to Apple for gaining market share.

    One thing that does concern me is that Apple has made such a great product that people won't want to upgrade often.  I mean I have no reason to buy another.  My 1st generation works just fine for me.  I am only concerned because again people will say YoY decline in Apple Watch sales because no one will want to upgrade like me.  This is what happened with their iPad.  It is not that the iPad is bad product it is just it is such a good product that hardly anyone needs to buy the latest and greatest.
    cornchipradarthekatcaligilly017watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 37
    What a delightful ad! Especially with a choir of whistlers whistling that happy tune. You're so cute Google, I just wanna give you a great big bear hug! How could anyone call you evil? /s
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 37
    The screenshots above show the example of why Apple Watch decision not to go to round face was absolutely spot on. What a hideous UI those Android round face watches has.
    radarthekatmagman1979gilly017watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 37
    idreyidrey Posts: 638member
    amarkap said:
    Let me just put in my (possibly worthless) two cents, I think where Apple nailed it is with the bands.  I know with all the other technologies these things offer, putting emphasis on the band is pretty silly right?  Well, not in my opinion.  The thing that makes Apple Watches so appealing outside of their technology is they just look darn awesome with their bands.  There are so many to choose from and Apple does a great thing by showing you a Watch face and colors and complement that band perfectly.  These Android Wear 2.0 watch while cool...I think don't have very appealing bands.  I suppose it is all subjective, but like I said just my two cents.  I'm glad Apple put as much thought into their bands as the watch itself.

    By the way, I was an early adopter and got my Apple Watch only a few weeks after it was initially released.  Back then, hardly anyone had one on.  This year, I see them on so many people.  Each one with a different type of band...so happy to Apple for gaining market share.

    One thing that does concern me is that Apple has made such a great product that people won't want to upgrade often.  I mean I have no reason to buy another.  My 1st generation works just fine for me.  I am only concerned because again people will say YoY decline in Apple Watch sales because no one will want to upgrade like me.  This is what happened with their iPad.  It is not that the iPad is bad product it is just it is such a good product that hardly anyone needs to buy the latest and greatest.
    Your are right about the bands. As much as the Watch is functional it is also fashionable. I got  gen on day 1 and I wore it until I broke it. I got gen 2 on day one as well and I only take it off to go to sleep. What I will do when gen 3 comes out, is that I will give my gen 2 to my brother and get the gen 3 for my self. (That's if I don't brake this one too) Maybe you can do the same. Buy the new one for your self and give the old one to a love one. That way we can keep the cycle going. :) I  am sure that the upgrade cycle is something that also worries Apple, so I am sure that they will come up with some clever way to get people to upgrade. 
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 37
    @amarkap: absolutely right, I fully agree.

    Apple Watch is not only a personnel computer and fitness device, but also a watch. And a watch is similar to fashion. 

    This is exactly what Google and the other competitors did not figured out, yet. They offer technical gimmicks. Apple offers fashion. And this is the reason why Apple Watch is a success story, and these Android Wear gimmicks are something else, but definitely not (!) a success story.

    It is easy to love your Apple Watch because you easily can arrange to fit to your outfit. From time to time a new band is really nice - for both, Apple Watch owner and Apple.

    PS: Right now I have five bands, and it's amazing how easily they can be switched within seconds. 
    edited February 8 patchythepirategilly017watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 37
    calicali Posts: 2,970member
    amarkap said:
    Let me just put in my (possibly worthless) two cents, I think where Apple nailed it is with the bands.  I know with all the other technologies these things offer, putting emphasis on the band is pretty silly right?  Well, not in my opinion.  The thing that makes Apple Watches so appealing outside of their technology is they just look darn awesome with their bands.  There are so many to choose from and Apple does a great thing by showing you a Watch face and colors and complement that band perfectly.  These Android Wear 2.0 watch while cool...I think don't have very appealing bands.  I suppose it is all subjective, but like I said just my two cents.  I'm glad Apple put as much thought into their bands as the watch itself.

    By the way, I was an early adopter and got my Apple Watch only a few weeks after it was initially released.  Back then, hardly anyone had one on.  This year, I see them on so many people.  Each one with a different type of band...so happy to Apple for gaining market share.

    One thing that does concern me is that Apple has made such a great product that people won't want to upgrade often.  I mean I have no reason to buy another.  My 1st generation works just fine for me.  I am only concerned because again people will say YoY decline in Apple Watch sales because no one will want to upgrade like me.  This is what happened with their iPad.  It is not that the iPad is bad product it is just it is such a good product that hardly anyone needs to buy the latest and greatest.
    Better battery life and storage and people will upgrade. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,932member
    kevin kee said:
    The screenshots above show the example of why Apple Watch decision not to go to round face was absolutely spot on. What a hideous UI those Android round face watches has.
    There are rectangular ones too. Asus and Sony are a couple who offer them. 
  • Reply 12 of 37
    levilevi Posts: 300member
    amarkap said:
    Let me just put in my (possibly worthless) two cents, I think where Apple nailed it is with the bands.  I know with all the other technologies these things offer, putting emphasis on the band is pretty silly right?  Well, not in my opinion.  The thing that makes Apple Watches so appealing outside of their technology is they just look darn awesome with their bands.  There are so many to choose from and Apple does a great thing by showing you a Watch face and colors and complement that band perfectly.  These Android Wear 2.0 watch while cool...I think don't have very appealing bands.  I suppose it is all subjective, but like I said just my two cents.  I'm glad Apple put as much thought into their bands as the watch itself.

    By the way, I was an early adopter and got my Apple Watch only a few weeks after it was initially released.  Back then, hardly anyone had one on.  This year, I see them on so many people.  Each one with a different type of band...so happy to Apple for gaining market share.

    One thing that does concern me is that Apple has made such a great product that people won't want to upgrade often.  I mean I have no reason to buy another.  My 1st generation works just fine for me.  I am only concerned because again people will say YoY decline in Apple Watch sales because no one will want to upgrade like me.  This is what happened with their iPad.  It is not that the iPad is bad product it is just it is such a good product that hardly anyone needs to buy the latest and greatest.
    I hear what you're getting at (I too bought gen 1) but I think the logic is flawed. No company is ever hurt by putting out a good product, and I'm certain Apple has plenty upgrades and features in mind to keep us excited for years to come - it is only up to ver 2 after all. They don't need existing customers to continually upgrade - they need to expand the base, which will happen with time (no pun intended). Btw I did upgrade to series 2 and love it - superior screen, no worry waterproofing, and the snappy processor are solid upgrades. 
    cornchipcaliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 37
    levilevi Posts: 300member
    kevin kee said:
    The screenshots above show the example of why Apple Watch decision not to go to round face was absolutely spot on. What a hideous UI those Android round face watches has.
    Wow, no kidding. Watch faces look good, but the way the menus and UI cut-off and get obscured, not good...
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 37
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,770member
    levi said:
    kevin kee said:
    The screenshots above show the example of why Apple Watch decision not to go to round face was absolutely spot on. What a hideous UI those Android round face watches has.
    Wow, no kidding. Watch faces look good, but the way the menus and UI cut-off and get obscured, not good...
    I'm not sure why people think Apple would have not been able to improve the UI on a round display, and instead point to Android's execution as proof Apple made the right choice. 
    gatorguyavon b7watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 37
    19831983 Posts: 898member
    As others have said that round screen interface above looks awful! But technically Android Wear has moved ahead of WatchOS now. And like WatchOS 3.0 was a vast improvement on version 2.0 and I think ultimately resulted in increased Watch sales, this might do the same for Android smartwatch's. I have a Series 2 and I'm very pleased with it. But like with the iPhone, Siri is incredibly crap on it! But unlike on the iPhone you can't change it out for anything else. Which is where Android Wear with Google Assistant has a big advantage in the smartwatch arena right now. Apple needs to vastly improve Siri (which to be honest I don't think will ever happen now) or offer the option of installing other such assistants. The other advantages that Android Wear offer at the moment (some of which are a bit gimmicky) could easily be plugged by Apple going forward, and most likely will be quite soon.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    fallenjt_Newfallenjt_New Posts: 10unconfirmed, member
    Android Wear? Is it still relevant? 
    BTW, AI fcked up my account. I couldn't log on no matter how many times I change my password.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 37
    RedPandaRedPanda Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Interesting to read the negative reactions to circular watch faces. Or, maybe not that interesting since this is an Apple site, but for me the square face means I'd probably never buy an Apple Watch. Someone noted that the Apple Watch has style like a watch should....which it kind of does, but I don't think I'd ever buy a square analog watch, and certainly not a square smart one, as it makes it all the more obvious that it's a gadget. I think having both designs as Android Wear does is clearly better, since then there's something for everyone. All that said, while I've tried them out I don't own a smartwatch from any brand, and I'm not seeing anything in Wear 2.0 to convince me to buy one.
    avon b7
  • Reply 18 of 37
    Is there a reason why Google's ad has lifted the visual styling from the Apple watch series of adverts?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 37
    amarkap said:
    Let me just put in my (possibly worthless) two cents, I think where Apple nailed it is with the bands.  I know with all the other technologies these things offer, putting emphasis on the band is pretty silly right?  Well, not in my opinion.  The thing that makes Apple Watches so appealing outside of their technology is they just look darn awesome with their bands.  There are so many to choose from and Apple does a great thing by showing you a Watch face and colors and complement that band perfectly.  These Android Wear 2.0 watch while cool...I think don't have very appealing bands.  I suppose it is all subjective, but like I said just my two cents.  I'm glad Apple put as much thought into their bands as the watch itself.

    By the way, I was an early adopter and got my Apple Watch only a few weeks after it was initially released.  Back then, hardly anyone had one on.  This year, I see them on so many people.  Each one with a different type of band...so happy to Apple for gaining market share.

    One thing that does concern me is that Apple has made such a great product that people won't want to upgrade often.  I mean I have no reason to buy another.  My 1st generation works just fine for me.  I am only concerned because again people will say YoY decline in Apple Watch sales because no one will want to upgrade like me.  This is what happened with their iPad.  It is not that the iPad is bad product it is just it is such a good product that hardly anyone needs to buy the latest and greatest.
    This is a very important point. Apple understood early on that Watch would not just be a wrist computer but a piece of fashion jewelry. They went a bit far with the gold but were smart in teaming with Hermes and keeping a high end ceramic version. Very few want to wear something that looks geeky or that everyone else has. Apple's other huge advantage here is that with one big platform now, their ecosystem of third party bands and accessories is so much larger. Also, Android's fragmentation is so much greater here - think of all the phone/watch combinations to support. Even reading the article - if your watch is round and has this feature then you get that feature of the software. How about updates, etc. The other killer feature in my opinion is AirPods. Using them with Watch is great. Watch becomes a wireless iPod. Finally, as to eventual year over year comparisons when market saturated, it is what it is. I think that is years away. I think also that as Watch becomes even better, AirPods, and other hardware accessories improve, it makes more people want to switch to the Apple ecosystem.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 37
    adm1adm1 Posts: 324member
    RedPanda said:
    Interesting to read the negative reactions to circular watch faces. Or, maybe not that interesting since this is an Apple site, but for me the square face means I'd probably never buy an Apple Watch. Someone noted that the Apple Watch has style like a watch should....which it kind of does, but I don't think I'd ever buy a square analog watch, and certainly not a square smart one, as it makes it all the more obvious that it's a gadget. I think having both designs as Android Wear does is clearly better, since then there's something for everyone. All that said, while I've tried them out I don't own a smartwatch from any brand, and I'm not seeing anything in Wear 2.0 to convince me to buy one.
    I concur with this. I've toyed with an apple watch so many times but the big square face just stands out so much compared to a regular watch. I've a few watches I alternate depending on what I'm wearing and it's more than just the strap that makes the look, the face/bezel is a big part of it for me. 

    That said, on my other wrist I happily wear a miband 1s. It's size and lack of screen makes it as indiscreet as a small wristband, it cost less than £8 delivered and bands less than 50p each, it monitors steps, sleep patterns (quite accurately I might add) and heart rate on demand and continuously when exercising. It's currently still on it's first charge 24 days later and has 7% battery left.
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