GOOGLE'S Wear OS has been given a nip and a tuck and now comes touting a Tiles feature that gives users access to useful info at a glance.
Despite going through all manner of changes, including dropping the Android Wear nomenclature, Wear OS has arguably been very much a second-fiddle wearable slice of software when compared to Apple's slick watchOS.
But Tiles now introduces snapshots of useful information, from fitness data to headlines and weather, in watch-face filling tiles that can be rapidly swiped through.
"With a swipe left, you'll be greeted by these Tiles and can check your progress towards your fitness goals or start a workout, know where you need to be next, plan ahead with the latest forecast, check your heart rate, follow the latest breaking headlines and set a timer," said Frank Deschenes, product manager for Google's Wear OS division.
"Whether you're into headlines or heartbeats, you can tailor your watch to meet your needs. To arrange the Tiles in the order you wish to see them, touch and hold any Tile on your smartwatch, or touch and drag one in your Wear OS by Google app. You'll be able to stay connected to what's important to you, and still keep tabs on other information and actions."
And that's about all there is to Tiles, which will be rolling out to Wear OS next month. Before you shrug and click onto something juicier, the introduction of Tiles is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
First, it shows that Google is still beavering away at improving its wearable software. And two, such small user interface and data-serving changes can add up to a significant change, as more easily accessing what you want in, almost literally, a pinch is kinda what smartwatches are all about.
As such, Tiles could serve as a base for making Wear OS feel slicker and potentially give third-party app developers more scope to how their software can serve up information and be navigated.
Just remember how clunky Android used to be and how lots of little changes, and some big ones, have made it into a smartphone OS that's more than capable of holding its own against iOS. µ
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