Google is trying to revive Wear OS once again. And those efforts were clear during Google I/O 2021 earlier this year. There, Wear OS 3 was the star of the show as a joint effort from Google and Samsung. And in order to get people started with Wear OS, the Google Play Store is recommending people "essentials" for your new watch. It's all nice and good, except that out of those essentials, two apps don't have a Wear OS version anymore.
Although the Android 12 update is a few months away, Google's Material You design is already making its way to the company's popular apps, with Contacts, Gboard, and Chrome leading the way. Now the app that houses all these apps seems set to showcase Material You elements in a future update.
A few months ago, Google said that it was working on improving the way you discover and install apps on Wear OS watches, by allowing you to browse the watch's Play Store from the larger screen on your smartphone. At the time, we thought this would only roll out once the all-new Wear OS revamp was out, but it seems this isn't the case. Two of our team members are already seeing these changes in the Play Store on their phones, and we can say with certainty: this is the easiest way to find and send apps to your watch.
By now, many of us are familiar with Google TV, the interface layer that Google introduced with last year's Chromecast and later spread to other Android TV units. The homescreen is focused on recommending shows and movies for you, relegating some of your apps along with app search and discovery to a secondary tab. A major side effect is the lack of proper access to the full Play Store, even though the app is still there. Here are some tricks you can use to open it.
The idea behind a Chromebook is an always-connected, always-online super lightweight computer that doesn't need a bunch of storage or local apps to accomplish what you need to get done on the go. The reality is that you still very likely do need expandable storage from time to time for things like downloading TV shows, books, or other media you need to access without Wi-Fi or on a slow (or metered) network.
Google first introduced app bundles a few years back, allowing developers to distribute their software by splitting up the individual components of their apps, and then having the Play Store only send users those parts that their specific phones or tablets actually need. The feature has managed to drastically reduce download sizes, and now Google is about to require developers to support app bundles for newly-published applications.
Do you remember when YouTube Music was first introduced? Without the help of a Google search, I'd guess 2019 or maybe 2018... and I'd be off by a few years. The service dates back to 2015, but it didn't catch on in popularity until Google introduced the paid subscription plan, expanded its availability to dozens and dozens of countries, and eventually sacrificed Google Play Music at its altar. The app's download numbers have subsequently soared on the Play Store and have now reached the coveted 1 billion milestone.
It's unlikely that its recent Roku controversy has contributed much to this, but YouTube TV has just reached the 10 million downloads milestone on the Google Play Store. While this is nowhere close to the success some other Google apps have achieved, it's important to note that YouTube TV isn't pre-installed on Android devices and that it's only available in the US.