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Google releases Wear OS 5 Developer Preview with key updates

An early look at Wear OS 5 suggests our smartwatches will keep improving.

Published onMay 15, 2024

  • Google announced its Wear OS 5 developer preview at Google I/O.
  • The new software offers key battery enhancements, including better efficiency when tracking workouts.
  • It also introduces an updated iteration of Watch Face Format.

The smartwatch market is far from slowing down, with Wear OS devices seeing 40% user base growth last year. To keep up with demand and continue offering developers a powerful platform, Google released the Wear OS 5 Developer Preview based on Wear OS 14. Though the preview arrived during Google I/O, the official software will land later this year.

A major component of the updated software includes a greater focus on power efficiency, and developers can even review new guidance around conserving power when building Wear OS apps. Meanwhile, Wear OS 5 devices with the same hardware will use 20% less battery than Wear OS 4 devices with the same hardware when tracking active tasks such as running. This is a major improvement for users, especially endurance athletes hoping for a more reliable workout companion.

Additionally, once Wear OS 5 arrives, Health Services will support new data types for running, including Ground Contact Time, Stride Length, Vertical Oscillation, and Vertical Ratio. This is among other useful updates to Health Connect and Health Services.

A variety of watch face examples created using Watch Face Format.

Likewise, Google announced new features in Watch Face Format, the recommended tool for building Wear OS watch faces. Updates to the tool include support for complications such as goal progress and weighted elements, weather, and forecasts, as well as useful new configuration presets called Flavors. Beginning in early 2025, all new watch faces published on Google Play will be required to use the Watch Face Format.

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