So much of our attention right now is focused on what's new with the Android P Beta, but it's not the only platform update Google's introducing this week at I/O. Back in March, Google started the next chapter of its wearable story with the re-branding of Android Wear as Wear OS, followed a couple weeks later by the release of the first Wear OS Developer Preview. Now we're taking a look at what's been tweaked since then, as Google makes available Wear OS DP2.
With Wear OS DP1, we learned about things like the dark UI becoming the new default, SDK restrictions aimed at improving stability, and new rules for background apps intended to prolong battery life.
The new release incorporates developer feedback to fine-tune those changes, particularly when it comes to power-saving features. Some of that DP1 battery-extending behavior was a little too aggressive, so Google's dialing back certain aspects of it. That includes undoing its decision to disable the ability to automatically connect to Wi-Fi when disconnected from Bluetooth.
We're also seeing the introduction of a new enhanced battery-saver mode, which seriously puts your smartwatch on ice when engaged, killing radios, touch input, and tilt-to-wake functionality all in one go. In order to start interacting with your watch again you'll have to press the physical side button — a quick tap to view the time, or a long press to fully disable this mode and restore regular operation.
Google reminds us about the expanded Assistant support it already announced, and particularly working with Actions on Google. Devs don't have to do anything special to make their Actions work with Wear, though Google does encourage them to tone down the verbosity. This is not exclusive to the preview, and is also hitting Wear 2.0 users at large.
As with DP1, images are available for the Huawei Watch 2 and Huawei Watch 2 Classic. Google warns that they aren't quite ready for use as your daily driver, but considering the most severe reported bug is some wonky power button behavior, it sounds like things could be worse.