Google Launches LG Watch Style and Watch Sport Powered by Android Wear 2.0


Google is finally launching Android Wear 2.0 with two new watches from LG: the LG Watch Style and the LG Watch Sport, both of which go on sale Friday. The update, which will roll out to more watches later this month, is a complete redesign of Google’s smartwatch platform, bringing the Google Assistant and standalone apps to your wrist.

At first glance, what’s most noticeable about the new Android Wear is the darker color scheme. Like we saw with the developer previews, the card interface of previous versions is gone and everything, including notifications, is instead set against a dark background.

“We have really tried to simplify things and just make it easier on the eyes but also easier on the battery,” Google product manager Jeff Chang said.

The user interface itself has also been simplified with streamlined navigation, thanks to what Google has dubbed “rotational input.” Most noticeable in the redesigned app launcher, which makes it easier to navigate apps and notifications with a quick scrolling action rather than a series of swipes. On the new LG watches, this takes advantage of a new rotating hardware button that works a lot like the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown, but it also works on square watch faces and other older models.

Watch faces have also been improved. Now, any app can be accessible from the watch face via a complication (previously, complications were determined by the watch face and not fully customizable).

But perhaps the most significant change in Android Wear 2.0 is a new, watch-based version of the Play Store, which allows you to download and run apps independently of your smartphone. If you have an LTE-enabled watch, this completely untethers your watch from your smartphone, at least in theory.

Those with non-LTE watches will still depend on a Wi-Fi connection to download apps but having the phone version of the app will no longer be necessary to run the watch’s counterpart. This could be particularly game-changing for iOS users, who until now have been greatly limited with what they could do with an Android Wear watch.

With the change, any developer can now make an Android Wear app that works with iOS. And, running natively on the watch, these apps are all much more useful. You can now use an app like Strava to track your run, get directions with Google Maps or call an Uber from your wrist, While non LTE-enabled watches still won’t be able to receive texts and phone calls from iPhones, iOS users will be able to respond to messages from other apps, like Hangouts and Telegram, directly on an Android Wear 2.0 watch.

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