Google Announces Android Wear Beta Based on Android Oreo, Starting with the LG Watch Sport
Google has announced a new Android Wear beta based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and it launches today starting with the LG Watch Sport. The new update brings the device to API level 26—the API level for Android 8.0— and introduces features such as the new background restrictions and notification channels. With the mess that was the release of Android Wear 2.0, we hope to see a major improvement from Google with respect to this next major version of Android Wear.
The more strict background limitations in Android Oreo may not affect Android smartwatches as much as it does smartphones, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to prevent applications from running amock on your smartwatch. After all, the batteries on smartwatches are fairly small in terms of capacity, so even a single app preventing your smartwatch from entering a deep sleep state can wreak havoc on your battery life. Google tells developers that they should assume their application isn’t running if a notification isn’t being actively shown to the user.
With this update also comes more advanced notification customization called “notification channels.” This allows the user to opt in or out of notifications from certain apps based on what category the notification is in. An example is shown where the user chooses to receive notifications from an application called “MooMessenger” when they receive a new follower, but not when they receive new likes.
As for which Android smartwatch devices that will receive the update, there’s no information available at this time. We don’t know if Google plans on imposing new hardware restrictions on this future Android Wear update, preventing older Wear devices from receiving it. Currently, only the LG Watch Sport can try this new Android Wear version out, so if you own one go here to enroll into the beta or download the factory image on your device. There are some minor known issues, but none of those are really deal breakers currently.