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Final Android Wear 2.0 SDK arrives for developers

Google has released the final version of the Android Wear 2.0 SDK for app developers, allowing them to prepare their apps for the launch of the OS on Friday.
By
February 9, 2017

On Wednesday, Google officially announced the release of Android Wear 2.0. Today, developers can snag the final version of the Android Wear 2.0 SDK, allowing them to prepare their older apps for the launch of the first smartwatches that will use the updated OS. LG’s Watch Sport and Watch Style are the first two devices to run version 2.0, and both will go on sale Friday, February 10.

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The new SDK includes a way for developers to add support in their apps for the many hardware additions and software improvements in Android Wear 2.0. They include Material Design-based system user interfaces and design guidelines, support for releasing Android Wear apps that can be downloaded and installed without a smartphone, and iOS support for apps. In addition, the SDK allows developers to create new types of watch faces with complications for Android Wear 2.0 that can offer features other than just telling the time.

As previously mentioned, the first two smartwatches that will be sold Friday with Android Wear 2.0 are the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. At the moment, app developers will need to get one of these smartwatches to test out the use of Android Wear 2.0’s new API support for physical button locations and rotary input. However, the plan is to update the SDK at some point so that these features can be tested with an emulator app.

In addition to updating the SDK, the app quality review process will be adding two new rules for Android Wear 2.0 apps. One is that apps that just offer enhancements from previous notifications made for a phone app won’t be accepted in the new review rules. The other big change is that developers will be required to upload a watch APK that’s compatible with Android Wear 2.0.

While the two new LG watches will be the first with Android Wear 2.0, many older Android Wear devices will offer updates to the new 2.0 version over the coming weeks and months.