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Google Fit adds new Wear OS Tiles, prioritizes step counter, and improves Heart Point recommendations (Update: APK download)

Just as many people are getting a bit stir crazy from staying indoors, the Google Fit team is delivering some long overdue attention to the Android app and Wear OS. Over the next week or so, several enhancements to the interface are set to roll out, meant to make information more visible while streamlining the interface so users can quickly pull up the most important bits of data.

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[Update: Rolling out] Upcoming Wear OS update will feature widget-like 'Tiles' for common actions

Wear OS has gone through quite a few evolutions over the last five years as it adopted apps, watch faces with custom complications, changes to notifications, and so on. The next big change is coming soon as Google prepares to take another step on the path it began with the last major update, and it's going to be called Tiles.

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Wear OS v2.16 prepares priority notifications for favorite contacts, optional media controls, and much more [APK Teardown]

Android Wear, or Wear OS as it's now known, seems to have found renewed momentum lately with fresh efforts in fitness, updates to the interface, and new hardware coming on the horizon. The latest update brings one notable change the improves the interface for managing notifications, but also carries with it the signs of many other changes and additions to come.

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Wear OS gets a redesign with a focus on health coaching and proactive information

Google is attempting to breathe new life into Wear OS with another redesign. Things are getting shifted around so that the most important stuff is front-and-center, or just a quick swipe away. On paper, it all sounds pretty good.

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Wear OS app v2.14 will add a shortcut to block app notifications [APK Teardown]

While you can run apps on Wear OS, the main reason for it to exist is to serve notifications. But for as much as notifications are useful, too many can be counterproductive. If you're finding that one or more of your apps is getting too noisy, but you're not quite ready to shut down notifications altogether, one good solution is to block those notifications from reaching your watch. Soon, you'll be able to access the settings screen to configure blocked apps by using a launcher shortcut.

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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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