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Android Wear beta program opens up for 8.0 Oreo, only available for LG Watch Sport

Now that Android 8.0 Oreo is out of beta and making its way onto devices in earnest, the Wear team is taking a turn with its own preliminary firmware update. Starting today, Google's Beta Program page is now distributing an early version of the next release of Android Wear. However, if you were looking forward to a lot of new features, you might be disappointed to hear that this is being referred to as a "technical upgrade to API 26" – mostly an update to the underlying infrastructure. On top of that, only one watch qualifies for betas at this time: The LG Watch Sport.

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[Deal Alert] Pick up an LG Watch Sport for $199.99 ($150 off) or a Watch Style for $107.99 ($142 off) after 20% off coupon

Smartwatches continue to dwindle, it seems. Android Wear, as a platform, still has a long way to go. If you can look past its shortcomings, then perhaps eBay's Labor Day deal is for you. Right now, you can pick up either an LG Watch Sport for $199.99 (saving you a very nice $150) or an LG Watch Style for $107.99 (a total of $142 off of the MSRP), if you use a coupon.

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Google Fit v1.70 brings workout history, audio alerts, automatic heart rate tracking, and more to Android Wear [APK Download]

An update to Google Fit began rolling out to both phones and Android Wear this week. In terms of changes, watches took the lead on this release with a short list of fairly significant additions, including audio alerts during runs, updates to the workout mode, a new screen for workout history, and even automatic heart rate tracking for some recent models. While phones weren't left out entirely, the only notable addition is a new app shortcut for handsets running Nougat and above.

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Verizon axes LG Watch Sport, offers $100 credit for other watches to pre-orderers

When the LG Watch Sport was announced, Verizon was on the list of carriers that would sell it. However, it's been three months since then, and Verizon still hasn't made it available for sale, with nothing being shipped to pre-orderers. It turns out that the chunky device has been completely canceled for Big Red.

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Comparison: All of the Android Wear devices announced or released in 2017 so far

Android Wear started off, as many Google products do, as something closer to a proof-of-concept than a finished product. The first watches had problems, the software was unfinished, and tech companies were the only ones producing them. Now that Android Wear is becoming a more mature platform, mostly thanks to the long-awaited 2.0 update, we're starting to see more watches than ever hit the market.

It was fairly easy to compare Android Wear watches in years past - only a handful of tech companies even bothered. But now, a vast amount of wearables are being released, with most of them by actual watch companies.

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LG Watch Sport review: The right smartwatch for the wrong audience

Google and LG set out to build a pair of watches to launch Android Wear 2.0. What resulted were two wildly divergent products that make no attempt to hit the middle ground. Richard reviewed the Watch Style, which features a lithe frame but includes fewer features than almost any Wear-based smartwatch that came before it. I'm looking at the Watch Sport, an unapologetically huge device with a wide array of capabilities that allow it to be a serviceable stand-in when you leave your phone behind. LG held nothing back with this watch, but it's not right for everyone.

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[Update: Google Store, B&H] LG Watch Style available now from Best Buy, Watch Sport on pre-order from AT&T and Verizon

The LG Watch Sport and Watch Style are the first two watches running Android Wear 2.0, developed in partnership with Google. You've already seen our first impressions of the pair, but now you can finally buy them.

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The final version of the Android Wear 2.0 SDK is out

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but Google has released the final version of the Android Wear 2.0 SDK. It adds support for everything announced with the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport yesterday, and also makes a few revisions to some of the app approval processes. On that note, there are two things in this final version to pay attention to (if you're a developer).

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Until we have an Apple Watch of our own, no one is going to take Android Wear seriously (opinion)

Yesterday, Google announced what many hoped would be the first "proper" Android Wear smartwatches - designed from the ground up to provide the best Wear experience possible by the very team behind Android Wear. But what we received increasingly appears to be two LG smartwatches with hints of Google design influence, with far more of Google's effort being felt in the marketing and media campaigns than on consumers' wrists. Our reviews of the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport haven't yet landed, and I don't wish to taint their conclusions (my opinions here are my own), but to me they show Google's strategy with the struggling Android Wear platform is deeply misguided.

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The new LG watches show the time when they're booting up

By now, you must know a lot about the new LG Style and Sport watches and all that they can and can't do. What you don't know is a little added functionality that's just handy to have, even if it won't have that much impact on your daily use.

When booting up, the new LG watches show the time on top of the spinning and expanding colorful circles animation for Android Wear. The animation only lasts a few seconds and you probably don't reboot your watch often enough to care, or you're not impatient to need to know the exact time this very second without being able to wait until the watch has fully booted, but it's a nice touch.

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