Android Wear is an extension of Google’s Android mobile operating system, designed for smartwatches and other wearables. Google announced the platform in March 2014 along with confirming LG, HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Asus as partners, and additional support from Intel, Imagination, Mediatek, and Qualcomm.
At this year’s Google I/O, the Android Wear was addressed as the “new phase in miniaturization of technology” by Google. There was a demo for reminder apps and navigation via Google Maps and the full Android Wear Software Development Kit (SDK) is available for download. If you are an app developer, you can download the SDK and start tweaking your apps for Android Wear. But before that, let’s see some of the key features of Android Wear and the devices running on it.
Android Wear watches have been designed to work in sync with all types of Android phones running on Android 4.3 or later. As apparent, these don’t work with iOS or Windows phones. Android Wear watches run nearly the same software, Google Now-style notification cards, menus, and voice-driven features. It is a sort of accessory to your Android phone which runs similar apps and notifications on both the devices. There’s no on-screen keypad on the Android Wear, so one has to speak to it to get things done via Google’s voice recognition.
The glitch with Paid Apps for Android Wear
Google has updated the Play Store prior to the release of Android Wear; there’s a separate section for Android Wear apps on the Play Store now. This makes it easier for users to download apps for their smartwatches. However, there’s a glitch with the paid apps. Users can download the paid apps on their phones but cannot install it on their wearables. Paid apps cannot be transferred from phone to the wearable via Bluetooth because of an encryption bug.
Android Wear apps need to be synced with its related mobile app. Free apps can be unwrapped from the package and can be installed on smartphones, but paid apps cannot be. Google has come up with a workaround for the issue. For paid apps, developers have to now follow a four-step process to eliminate the problem.
In a blogpost Google explains: “There are two ways to package your wearable app: use the ‘wearApp’ Gradle rule to package your wearable app or manually package the wearable app. For paid apps, the workaround is to manually package your apps, and you cannot use the ‘wearApp’ Gradle rule.”
LG’s G Watch and Samsung Gear Live have hit the market, and Motorola’s Moto 360 will be releasing this month. Also, HTC is expected to come up with its Android Wear soon. As the inception of smartwatches is here, app developers would be now inclined towards developing apps that work on the smartwatches as well. Developers should leverage this new platform soon, as Android Wear is a thing to stay here for long.
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