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wear

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AsteroidOS, an open-source Wear OS alternative, now available as a stable release

A few years ago, a French computer science student named Florent Revest undertook a project to keep Android Wear smartwatches from dying of obsolescence. That project is called AsteroidOS, built entirely on GNU/Linux libraries and technologies, and in its current state, it's fairly basic. Even so, for all fans of open source software out there, this is pretty damn great.

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Update Notes for YouTube, YouTube Music, Gmail, Wear OS, Google Assistant, and Creator Studio (Mar 24, 2018)

Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.

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Google partially delays policy change for Android Wear apps scheduled for next week

In late August of last year, Google announced some updates to its Android Wear policy which would affect the requirements for an app to obtain an "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge. Whereas previously, apps could qualify simply by implementing enhanced notifications, Google's planned policy change for January 18th, 2018 imposed some stricter restrictions.

The new policy would require apps to work as standalone Wear apps and force Wear APKs to be uploaded to the Play Store as a multi-APK instead of bundling them within phone apps. However, feedback on the multi-APK system has forced Google to delay fully implementing the policy, according to Hoi Lam, an Android Wear Staff Developer Advocate.

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Oreo will be rolling out to Android Wear starting today

Android Wear 2.0, deep down inside, is based on Nougat 7.0. A bit over a month ago the platform saw news of a coming update to Oreo in the form of a beta program, originally only available for the LG Watch Sport. We presume that beta is now over, because Android Oreo is rolling out to Wear devices starting today.

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Android Wear v2.6 includes a Recent app complication, network status indicators, download progress card, and more [APK Download]

Google announced last month that one of the plans for Wear 2.0 had been to make the platform easier to update with software upgrades from the Play Store rather than relying so much on sending out a barrage of firmware updates. In the v2.6 update, quite a few improvements and little tweaks have been made to the interface, including new connection indicators, download status notifications, a recent app complication, and more.

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Play Music v8.5 drops 2 MB of dead weight by unbundling Wear app and fixes app shortcut adaptive icons [APK Teardown]

A new version of Play Music is available this afternoon and it's making a big leap in versions from 8.0 to 8.5. This update doesn't come with the redesign that had seemed likely after last month's visual refresh to Play Music on Android TV. But cosmetic touchups were in the cards as the adaptive icons for app shortcuts were fixed in this release. Additionally, Play Music lost some megabytes after unbundling its Wear app.

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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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Google is updating its policies for apps with Wear 1.0 support, multi-APK distribution to replace bundled APKs

Android Wear has come a long way in the last three years, but it was the launch of Wear 2.0 that brought the most significant changes. With most of the Wear devices updated to 2.0, Google is adjusting the way it markets apps that target small(er) screens and implementing a new distribution model that removes some of the compromises associated with supporting older Wear devices.

A post to the Android Developers Blog details plans to change the "Enhanced for Android Wear" badge requirements. Apps that originally qualified for the badge by simply implementing enhanced notifications are no longer going to be included if they don't also have a Wear app to go with them.

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Deezer updated to include support for Android Wear [APK Download]

French music streaming service Deezer launched in the US almost exactly a year ago and its large catalog of songs has impressed as the company attempts to rival Spotify and Google Play Music outside of Europe. Since May, subscribers have also been able to use the service through Google Home, and the latest update extends functionality to Android Wear watches.

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The new GUESS Connect smartwatches run Android Wear 2.0, will launch later this year

The time has come for another fashion company to get into Android Wear, and this time it's GUESS. The new watches are part of the Connect product line, but they're not the first smartwatches GUESS has sold. The last Connect was a mechanical watch with a dot-matrix ticker display. The new ones will be more what you expect from a smartwatch.

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