Android Wear 2.9 Will Introduce New Unread Notification Indicator

Google has not really given much love to Android Wear. The platform has received some minor updates from time to time, with the last major update to the platform being Android Wear 2.0 released in Q1 2017. Since then, Google has used the Android Wear app to roll out minor updates to all Android Wear smartwatches out there. 

After recently rolling out Android Wear 2.8 with improved notification glanceability, Google has announced Android Wear 2.9. The upcoming version of the OS will display a new dot-shaped indicator at the bottom of the watch face if you have any unread notifications. This way, you can quickly know if you have any unread notifications or not by simply looking at the watch face. Google has also updated the Android Wear SDK and providing developers with the relevant tools and guides to update their watch face to accommodate this new indicator.

There are some other developer-oriented improvements in Android Wear 2.9 as well. Make sure to read about them by heading over here. In its announcement, Google also promises a “steady release of enhancements to Android Wear” over the coming months.

Our Take

Google will roll out the Android Wear 2.9 in the nearby future. Interestingly, the company now updates all Android Wear watches in the market through an update to its Android Wear Android app instead of pushing an OTA update to them. This makes the whole process faster and easier for Google and also allows it to update older Android Wear smartwatches that have not been updated to Oreo.

At this point though, Android Wear as a platform is woefully behind watchOS and Google really needs to make some major improvements to the OS to ensure it gains traction among consumers. There also needs to be a new Android Wear optimized chip from Qualcomm which is more power efficient and faster as the existing Wear2100 platform is not cutting it anymore. However, given the relative lack of demand for Android Wear watches, I don’t expect Qualcomm to release a new chipset for the Wear platform anytime soon.

[Via Android Developers]