Hands up who thinks having an app store on a 1.5in screen is a good idea. Anybody?
Well, someone does, because Google is introducing an app store for Android Wear, and they claim it’s based on user feedback.
Writing on the Android Developers blog, Hoi Lam, Google’s “developer advocate”, explained that the move would help developers reach more users. “We asked developers like you what you wanted most out of Android Wear, and you told us you wanted to make it easier for users to discover apps,” Lam wrote. “So we ran studies with users to find out where they expected and wanted to discover apps––and they repeatedly looked for and asked for a way to discover apps right on the watch itself.”
The update adds a “My apps” view on Android 2.0 watches, which lets users update and uninstall apps on the go, as well as allowing watch-wearers search for apps via voice, keyboard, handwritten or recommended queries. The change also adds the ability to install apps purely on the watch, without needing to have them on the accompanying handset as well. That, at least, is definitely a good thing. As an Android Wear user, I can tell you it’s a bit annoying that my custom watch face takes up a slot in my phone’s app collection.
Alongside this, Developer Preview 3 brings in some other changes: allowing complicated permissions on the watchface, adding support for inline actions and adding support for WearableRecyclerView – a UI component that will help developers “display and manipulate vertical lists of items while optimising for round displays.”
With these changes in mind, the Android Wear 2.0 preview program has now been extended into early 2017, when the update should begin to reach regular consumer wrists.