GOOGLE HAS SHOVED OUT a new Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, but has admitted that ordinary folk won't get their hands on it until 2017.
Android Wear 2.0 was originally tipped to arrive later this year, but Google has now "decided to continue the preview programme into early 2017", at which point existing Android Wear smartwatches will receive the update.
Still, Google is keen to make it worth the wait. The Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 3 is the first release to incorporate the Google Play store, which means you'll be able to browse, search and download apps, including paid titles and beta tests, directly to a smartwatch instead of queuing them up on a phone.
This also means that iPhone users will be able to install Android apps directly on the smartwatches without requiring an Android phone.
Google said in a note to developers: "Android Wear 2.0 phone apps are no longer necessary. You can now build and publish watch-only apps for users to discover on Google Play."
Other features included in the new Developer Preview include complication permission, scrollable lists, inline actions for notifications and Smart Reply.
Smart Reply provides users with a "fast (single tap), discreet (no speaking aloud), private (messages received by a user never leave the watch) and reliable (no internet connection needed) way to respond to chat messages", the company said.
Android Wear 2.0, once it is released next year, will also deliver a teeny-tiny fiddly onscreen keyboard, a full Material Design overhaul to Google's smartwatch platform and improved fitness-tracking sensors. The software will also be able to detect when a wearer starts walking, running or cycling.
Developers can get their hands on Google's latest preview now, as long as they have an LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition or a Huawei Watch. µ
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