Google has rolled out Android Wear 2.0 for smartwatches. The new version of the Android Wear platform brings many features and major changes to any wearable device. Most important change is that it allows standalone apps to operate on the watch and connect to a network directly. Even without a compatible smartphone or mobile device, the smartwatch can be used for communicating including calls, SMS, and social media.

The Android team has introduced multi-APK support with Android Wear 2.0 so more apps can work with the wearable OS. This mainly reduces the size of the phone apps so they can easily work on any Wear-powered device. Google wants more Android Wear watch users to enjoy wearable apps so the multi-APKs are now allowed for Android Wear 1.0 devices. Even without updating to Android Wear 2.0, some apps can be enjoyed on older smartwatches.

The tech giant also updated its Google Play Store policy. This signals that the company is fully promoting the use of standalone apps and multi-APKs. The policy change covers all apps that can run on a smartwatch including launchable apps, watch faces, and any complication on some data providers. It will be effective beginning January 18, 2018.

Because of these changes, some apps may lose the “Enhanced for Android Wear” badge especially if they support Wear notification enhancements but don’t have a separate Wear app or if they are bundled with mobile apps instead of multi-APK.

SOURCE: Android Developers Blog