Google has this morning announced an Android P based Developer preview for the newly renamed Wear OS.
The list of new features is headlined by a Dark UI theme, and battery saving features which range from options to limit background activity, through to switching off radios when the watch is not being worn, and limiting WiFi auto-connect when the watch is no longer connected to a Bluetooth source.
The darker UI theme is to ‘improve the glanceability for Wear apps’, but it’s not new having rolled out to Wear OS users earlier this year.
Google says that in the Android P developer preview, an apps ability to run in the background will be severely restricted unless the watch is on the charger. The exception to this is for watch faces and complications, which already have power saving functions.
Also in the power saving functions is that watches will switch off bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular radios when Wear OS detects that they’re no longer being worn ‘for an extended period of time’. The watches ability to auto-connect to WiFi when the bluetooth connection drops will also be restricted unless ‘an app is requesting a high bandwidth network or if the watch is on the charger’.
Google is also bringing in restrictions to the use of non-SDK methods and fields to improve app compatibility.
The developer preview is only available in Android Studio as an emulator for developers, or as a downloadable system image for the Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth and Huawei Watch 2 Classic Bluetooth. If you do decide to try out the dev preview, then you’re best off checking the release notes for a wide range of issues already found in the Dev preview. You can download the images from the Android P Wear OS developer preview page.