Talk about Android Wear has been going strong lately as we close in on the final release of v2.0 (and some new watches designed in collaboration with Google). As promised, the fifth developer preview has just been announced, although this one will not include any new firmware images for the Huawei Watch or LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition. Instead, Google has released an update for the Wear companion app on iOS, revised developer support materials, and some final notes before the launch.


Perhaps the most notable aspect is iOS support. A new version of the companion app was released today to the App Store and it supports all of the necessary features to operate with Wear 2.0, including the OAuth and RemoteIntent hand-off APIs added in DP4. Developers with iOS devices can now test their apps to ensure they work properly on all supported platforms. According to Google's notes, the device must be running iOS 10 or higher, but specifically not v10.0.1 (this was only the current version between Sept 13-23, 2016). Note that only standalone apps will work with watches paired to an iOS device. If they require a an app be installed on the phone (thus, not really a standalone app), they won't be able to find it on an iOS device.

Google's announcement does clarify "Apps built with this preview are ready for final submission to the Play Store." Basically, this means the API and SDK are finalized, so there should be no breaking changes between now and the final release.

The Wear Support Library has been updated to v2.0.0-beta2 and includes a new single-page, icon-only mode for the action drawer control and a revised configuration for ProGuard that prevents Complication classes from being obfuscated, which fixes a known issue that resulted in a ClassNotFoundException in some situations.

As a final note, the documentation clarifies that Android Wear 2.0 supports NFC, but only for HCE mode (Host Card Emulation). Both P2P mode and Reader/Writer mode are unsupported at this time. This means developers will not be able to create apps that can transfer data to other phones or Wear devices through NFC, nor will they be able to work with NFC tags. Basically, the only supported use of NFC will be communication with point-of-sale terminals through apps like Android Pay. I have no doubt support for the other modes will become available someday, but it's a bit disappointing there won't be any other use for NFC for a while.