Android Wear 2.0 will Require Installing Apps from new Wear-based Play Store

Android Wear 2.0 will Require Installing Apps from new Wear-based Play Store

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Ian Lake is an Android Developer Advocate who has been responding to some Android Wear 2.0 questions over in the Android Wear Developers Google+ community. In one particular Google+ thread, a user inquired about the current distribution numbers for the various Android Wear platform versions. For now, Mr. Lake says that all watches are capable of running the latest version of Android Wear, so developers targeting minSdkVersion 23 in their app’s manifests is fine. But then things started to get interesting as the discussion pivoted towards the upcoming Android Wear 2.0 update.

A developer asks if Android Wear 2.0 devices will support embedded APKs rather than the current method which requires installing the main application on the linked smartphone and beaming the Wear component to the smartwatch. In response to this question, Mr. Lake reveals an interesting change to Android Wear 2.0: with the upcoming wearable update, all users will need to visit the Play Store from their smartwatch in order to install an application on it. With the new update, users will no longer automatically load their smartwatch with apps from their smartphone, and will instead need to interact with their smartwatch to install new apps. In preparation for this change, Android Wear 2.0 applications will be allowed full network access and can be installed completely separately from the smartphone app.

Mr. Lake continues and tells us that Google is expanding the PlayStoreAvailability APIs for the developers who have apps that still utilize the companion app model, but he reminds developers that users will be able to download their apps independent of what’s on the user’s smartphone. The Play Store application for Android Wear 2.0 will show apps that you have currently installed on your phone at the top of the list for convenience, but the user will have the ability to choose whether or not they want to install it to their smartwatch.

This move is a significant departure from the original Android Wear user experience. Mr. Lake states that internal user studies show that users are not happy with the way the platform currently automatically installed apps to the smartwatch without the user’s permission. This route should simplify things when the smartphone and smartwatch application are not required to be linked together. So for the Android Wear developers out there, be sure you’re ready to provide support for Android Wear 2.0 as there are many changes included in the next big update for the wearable platform.

Source: Android Wear Developers Via: 9to5Google