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(Update: available now) All Android Wear watch faces will get notification indicators with version 2.9 update

Update: Android Wear version 2.9 is now available, bringing the highly-anticipated notification indicators as well as improved glanceability.
By
February 18, 2018
Update (2/18): Android Wear 2.9 is now available, bringing new notification preview complication which allows you to preview messages and improved glanceability in notification cards with longer titles. According to Google, the update will be rolling out during the next couple of days.
TL;DR
  • Google announced that the upcoming Android Wear 2.9 update will include unread notification indicators.
  • By default, these indicators will be found at the bottom.
  • The new Android Wear SDK 2.2.0 allows developers to play with the appearance and location of the indicators.

Android Wear might not grab as many headlines as it once did, but Google continues to push out updates for its wearable platform. The latest update, version 2.9, will bring a new feature that should delight fans: unread notification indicators.

By default, the dot-shaped indicator surrounded by a ring will show up at the bottom of each watch face. From the looks of it, Android Wear will only show the latest unread notification at the bottom by default, though we are not entirely sure.

Either way, developers that play around with the new Android Wear SDK 2.2.0 can adjust the position and appearance of these indicators. For example, they can show the number of unread notifications at the top of the screen. Developers can also create a custom display anywhere on the screen to better match the watch face.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic being held in someone's hand.

Speaking of the new SDK, it also includes better permission handling and a new drawable callback that improves the performance of watch face complications. Finally, the SDK includes the final version of an emulator based on Android Oreo.

In the blog post announcing the changes, Google did not say when version 2.9 will roll out. The search giant did say that the SDK 2.2.0 is available now, so we should not have to wait long for the update to land on compatible watches.