One of the biggest and most exciting features in Android Wear 2.0 is support for standalone watch applications. In Android Wear 1.5 (and all versions prior to that), you’d need to have your phone nearby in order to send data from your smartwatch to your phone. But with this new update, apps can now be fully functional on the watch itself and act just like a standard smartphone application. While this may not seem like a huge deal on the surface, it’s certainly a welcome addition in the world of fitness tracking apps. As long as a fitness tracking service has a compatible watch app on Android Wear 2.0, users will, in most cases, be able to record and upload workout activity without the need to connect to their smartphone first.
Today, two popular fitness tracking services, Strava and Runkeeper, have announced their new fitness applications for Android Wear 2.0.
With Strava’s new-and-improved fitness app for Android Wear (pictured above), athletes will now be able to record and upload activities, untethered from their phones. The new Strava app will also offer users performance analysis like time, distance, pace, lap time, split time and heart rate, all from their wrists.
Runkeeper has also released an updated version of its app for Android Wear 2.0 (pictured above), which the company says is focused on enhancing the user experience of running with a watch.
With the new Runkeeper app, users can take advantage of standalone tracking on devices with a built-in GPS, higher display contrast for better glanceability while out on a run and a new activity summary screen. The update also brings improvements to the navigation functionality, which will help prevent accidental stops or pauses mid-run.
Best Android Wear watches
One of the other big improvements in Android Wear 2.0 is the ability to download apps from the Google Play Store, right on the watch itself. That means you no longer need to install Android Wear-compatible apps on your smartphone first. Instead, just launch the Play Store from your wrist, find the dedicated smartwatch app you’re looking for, and tap the download button.
With Strava, you’ll be able to install the app from your wrist, though you’ll need to utilize your smartphone for the setup process. Runkeeper, on the other hand, will not only let you install the app from your wrist, but also sign up directly on the watch itself.