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Google will now require formal review of Wear OS apps before Play Store listing

Developers will no longer be able to list a Wear OS app on the Play Store without first going through a review process.

Published onAugust 15, 2018

wear OS android p developers preview
  • Google will now require Wear OS apps to go through a review process before getting listed on the Play Store.
  • There already is a review process in place, but it is optional.
  • Existing Wear OS apps have until March next year to go through the review.

Right now, anyone can make a Wear OS app and get it listed on the Wear OS version of the Google Play Store. There’s a review process that will ensure the app is up-to-snuff, but it’s completely optional.

Google just announced that it is changing this policy. Starting on October 1, 2018, all newly-submitted apps will require approval through a Wear OS app review process before gaining a spot on the Play Store.

(Update: more information) Google's fall hardware event might also introduce a Pixel-branded watch

Apps that are currently listed on the Play Store must go through the review process before March 4, 2019.

Google clarifies in its blog post on the matter that the review process itself isn’t changing at all – the only change is that the review will now be required, rather than being optional.

It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Google to make the review process a requirement. I suppose since we’re still in the early days of Wear OS, Google wanted to encourage rapid development/deployment of applications and didn’t want to hinder developers with red tape.

Whatever the reason for the delay, party time is over: Wear OS apps will now face scrutiny before Play Store availability.

Google suggests that app developers who want to test out Wear OS apps before getting a Play Store review can either offer their apps for sideloading or use internal testing features via the Google Play console.

NEXT: On September 10, your Wear OS smartwatch will likely become an old timer