Google has started rolling Android 7.0 Nougat out to Nexus devices, but no watches have gotten the corresponding Wear 2.0 update. The beta test has been ongoing for months, and today Google has released the third dev preview. That's good, but there's also some bad news. The developer preview is now expected to continue into early 2017, which is a significant delay.

The third dev preview makes a number of important changes, including a Play Store client on the watch itself. Google justifies this decision by pointing out that developers want better discoverability of apps, and repeated user studies showed that people wanted to manage apps on the watch. You'll be able to browse, install, and uninstall apps in Wear 2.0. Phone side installations are no longer required at all. There are also some tweaks to how complications (watch face data displays), scrollable lists, notifications, and smart replies work. You can see the full developer-oriented list of changes in the release notes.

image00

The timeline has taken a big hit, though. Google previously said the update would start rolling out this fall, but early feedback on the beta was not positive. Google is now saying the dev preview will extend into early 2017, and there will be a fourth preview. So, it will be late winter or early spring before you see a final build of Android Wear 2.0. With such a long wait, Google's OEM partners are likely nervous about the future of the platform. Maybe those rumored Google-branded watches will get things back on track next year, but things aren't looking good right now.