Android Oreo 8.1 has officially been released and along with releasing the next latest Android OS, Google has also launched a lighter, “Go” version of the software for entry level handsets. Another addition to the OS Suite is the new version for Android Wear.
The update for Android Wear was released just yesterday. The OS was originally tested during Beta stage for the LG Watch Sport a few months ago and the wearable will be among the first to receive the fresh update. Developers of the new OS platform have stated that while the OS has been released and finished, the update will roll out incrementally depending on the manufacturers. While there are not many noticeable new features in the new platform, there are performance tweaks and minor differences from the older software. One of those features includes a new “Touch Lock” setting that prevents the wearable from being woken up via touch, in cases when it is raining or when accidental touches are incurred by the screen.
Another feature that Google has added to the OS is the ability to control the vibration strength of the device. The options come under the “Vibration pattern” settings that include Normal, Long and Double vibrations. There is also now a toggle to enable battery saver mode so that the device can be activated in battery saving mode without needing to get below a certain battery level.
Android Wear’s position lately has been in the decline, with the market share being dominated mostly by Apple Watch with 57 percent of the market share, followed by Samsung’s Tizen OS which takes up 19 percent of the market. Android Wear falls behind at just 18 percent. While Apple and Samsung both use their own chips on their wearables, Android Wear depends on outdated Snapdragon processors that still run on the 28nm process. Google may have missed the opportunity for adding features that may appeal to users who would like to migrate from platforms. While Android Wear is essentially, a dumbed down version of the smartphone OS, the functionality remains roughly the same.
The new update also offers better control over how apps provide their notifications. The platform will also be available in seven new countries and languages which include Belgium (Dutch), Czech Republic (Czech), El Salvador (Spanish), Honduras (Spanish), Nigeria (English), Paraguay (Spanish), and Portugal (Portuguese). While the new update does bring in some improvements, Tizen and Apple Watch still offer more customization and more colourful ways of implementing the software with the hardware. Google still has ways to go until it can get wearable tech right.