Android Wear Lollipop update officially announced

Android Wear

Google has officially announced the Lollipop update for the Android Wear platform, bringing several new features and improvements to wearable devices including the official Watch Face API, accessibility updates, and more.

Among the expected improvements, the Android Wear Lollipop update will have the ability to bring bring back a dismissed card; an intelligently organized shortcuts menu that surfaces your most used actions; quick brightness/sound modes, including Theater Mode (keeps the screen off and mutes vibrations) and Sunlight Mode (increases the brightness to max); and, new options to view battery and storage info easily.

The main new addition is the introduction to the official Android Wear Watch Face API. The Android Wear app on your phone will be updated to make it easier to browse, download, and swap your watch face. Additionally, the API should bring some much needed cohesion to the Android Wear watch face ecosystem. Currently, there are tons of watch faces already distributed through the Play Store, which will need to be updated for compatibility with the official API. However, Google is warning developers not to update until the Android 5.0 update has been completed, because updating too soon will cause your watch face to become invisible to users.

The API will allow developers official pathways to pull background service data like weather and calendar events. It will also add universal settings options, like changing between 12-hour and 24-hour clock displays. The API will also allow devs to push customizable watch faces in a single package, and use OpenGL graphics.

Other new features include a change to the swipe-down gesture. Previously, swiping down a bit would show your battery info and date, while swiping fully would mute your watch. Now, swiping down brings you to a quick settings menu where you can change the brightness settings and notifications. It is also now possible to mute all notifications from a certain app directly on your watch, instead of having to do it through the Android Wear app on your phone.

The Android 5.0 Lollipop update will be rolled out to all six current Android Wear devices over the course of next week. Google has also partnered with several designers to offer special watch faces in time for the rollout.

source - Google (Android)

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