As promised last year, Google has released the fifth and final version of the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, paving the way for the full release of the wearable OS and urging developers to get their apps ready for next month’s launch.
While the release mostly brings bug fixes and general performance improvements, there are a few standout features. Most notably, the new version brings iOS support for the new on-watch Play Store, letting iPhone users enjoy the same standalone application experience as Android users. Additionally, Android Wear apps running on watches paired with iOS devices will be able to perform phone “hand-off flows” for launching web pages on the linked iPhone. The new update also optimizes the available network bandwidth for standalone apps, in an effort to save battery life.
Also included is a new navigation drawer feature, which lets you “flip a flag to toggle to the single-page, icon-only action drawer," providing faster navigation to different views inside apps. Furthermore, the new update brings support for NFC Host Card Emulation to open up Android Pay support on supported watches.
Google has already announced that Android Wear 2.0 will be launching in early February, so developers who want to support it at launch need to submit their apps as soon as possible. As Google explains, “The final developer preview includes an update to the Wearable Support Library. Apps compiled with API level 25 and this support library are considered ready for deployment in the Google Play Store.”
The impact on you at home: It’s almost here! We’ve been waiting patiently for the release of Android Wear 2.0 since we first laid eyes on it last May at Google I/O, and it’s finally ready to launch in just a few weeks. If you own one of the supported watches, you’ll be able to play with it soon enough (though Android Pay support will be limited to models with NFC chips), and a whole new crop of wearables is sure to take advantage of the new features, starting with Google's own offering.
This story, "Final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview lands, bringing iOS support" was originally published by Greenbot.