Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Wear OS gets new battery saving mode

Android P for mobile platforms Android P for mobile platforms. Courtesy Qualcomm
Cecil Davis | 11 May, 2018, 12:13

This will be the first significant new wearables platform from Qualcomm since 2016. The integration is deeper than ever before, as Wear OS powered smartwatches can now be leveraged to control smart devices.

The company announced Wear OS Developer Preview 2 yesterday with a focus on battery life and bringing a better experience to the watch with the Google Assistant. The problem was that the rebranding didn't come with any new features or updates that advanced the capabilities of the platform.

As the name suggests, the mode will particularly take care of the small battery inside wearables. The first update rolls back the Wi-Fi off when Bluetooth is disconnected feature. Still, only time will tell if manufacturers will get onboard with this, but seven OEMs have already added their devices to the beta program. Moreover, Kedia didn't mention what new advancements the new platform will offer to help Wear OS smartwatches take on Apple Watch that is so far dominating the smartwatch market. Devs don't have to do anything special to make their Actions work with Wear, though Google does encourage them to tone down the verbosity. Users can enable the feature by pressing the side button and resume normal activity on the smartwatch with a long press.

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This new chip could be the boost Wear OS needs to return to relevancy. On a related note, they'll also improve performance for always-on displays, which are pretty important if you don't want to find yourself constantly tapping your watch to wake it up. Back in 2016, Qualcomm announced a significant update as it announced the Snapdragon 2100, which is now being used in nearly every Wear OS watch.

"Project Treble is the new hardware interface architecture for Android that is created to make platform updates easier for device manufacturers", said Dave Burke, vice president of engineering, Google. You can find more details about changes (and issues) the version brings in the release notes, as well as details on how to download and manually flash it onto your smartwatch.