It's been a long time coming. Android Wear 2.0 was originally due to launch last year, but in September, Google announced that it had been delayed until "early 2017". Now, the long wait has come to an end, as the company has officially revealed details of its launch.
The new version of the OS will formally debut on two new devices from LG, which will go on sale on February 10 in the United States, with availability expanding to more markets over the next few weeks.
A limited range of existing Android Wear devices will be eligible to upgrade to 2.0, and will get that update "in the coming weeks".
Among the new features in Android Wear 2.0, users can look forward to:
More personalized watch faces with more detailed information
"Simply glance at your wrist to check your next appointment, stock performance, progress on fitness goals, or whatever is important to you. A quick tap on your watch face lets you instantly order an Uber ride, start a workout, or get in touch with your significant other. Interested in different info throughout the day? Just swipe to switch your watch face as you go from the office to the gym to dinner with friends and home again."
Improvements to workouts, and other fitness-focused features
"Google Fit, the pre-installed fitness app on most Android Wear watches, now lets you track your pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate* as you’re walking, running or cycling. You can also measure weight-lifting reps, in addition to push-ups, sit-ups and squats. When you work out with a cellular-connected Android Wear watch, you can stay in touch with calls and messages, stream tunes from Google Play Music and still use your favorite apps right on your watch."
A new on-watch Google Play Store with better app support on each device
"With Android Wear 2.0, you can choose which apps you want on your watch and download them directly from the new on-watch Google Play Store. If your watch has a cellular connection, you can make calls and use your watch apps no matter where your phone is. Whether you use an Android phone or iPhone, you’ll be able to use apps built for Android Wear 2.0, like AccuWeather, Android Pay*, Bring!, Foursquare, Google Fit, Google Messenger, Google Play Music, Lifesum, Robinhood, Runkeeper, Runtastic, Strava, Telegram, Uber and many more."
Improved messaging support, including dictation, typing and handwriting
"Now it’s easier than ever to read and respond to a message right from your watch. When you receive a message, you can expand the notification and tap to respond by dictating, typing or handwriting your answer, or drawing an emoji. Try it out on apps like Facebook Messenger, Glide, Google Messenger, Hangouts, Telegram or WhatsApp. Need to respond quickly and discreetly? Use Smart Reply, which instantly and intelligently suggests different responses based on the message you received."
New Google Assistant support on your wearable device
"Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to your wrist, so you can find answers and get things done—hands free. Ask your Google Assistant about the weather or remind yourself to bring an umbrella. Make a restaurant reservation or navigate to work. You can even update your shopping list right from your wrist. To ask for help, just hold down the power button on your watch or say “Ok Google." The Google Assistant is available in English and German on Android Wear and will be available in other languages in the coming months."
You can get a further brief overview of the new features in Android Wear 2.0 in the video below: