Google is giving developers a new preview version of Android Wear 2.0 to test out. This is the fourth developer build for the smartwatch OS, and comes 2 1/2 months since the release of Developer Preview 3.
One of the biggest features of Android Wear 2.0 is the ability for smartwatch apps to install without the need for a smartphone. But what about signing into services? Developer Preview 4 adds the OAuth API, which will allow users to tap a button on the watch that opens an authentication screen on the phone. The new build also adds in-app billing via the watch, with the user typing in a 4-digit Google Account PIN.
The swipe-to-dismiss gesture from Android Wear 1.0 has returned in this latest build, meaning that developers can now build apps that dismiss an activity by swiping from left to right. Previously, you’d need to press the physical side button in Android Wear 2.0 to go back, and now that change has been reverted (thankfully).
Also, Android Wear apps that are packaged using the older 1.0 embedded app mechanism can now be added to Android Wear 2.0 watches.
Google’s announcement today indicated that it plans to release Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 5 at some point in the future, while the official consumer-ready version of the OS isn’t coming until “early 2017”.
Lots of things have been happening in the Android Wear world lately. Some recent rumors have claimed the company plans to launch its own smartwatches that will support Android Wear 2.0 next year. Also, earlier this week, the company acquired Cronologics, a startup that was making its own Android-based smartwatch OS and will now work with Google to develop and improve Android Wear.