Google’s main Put on OS revamp is out at present, and shortly it’ll arrive on most gadgets launched up to now 12 months and a half (though Ars has already spent per week with a pre-release model of the OS). Within the face of relentless competitors from the Apple Watch Collection four and Samsung Galaxy Watch, Google’s most evident change within the new Put on OS is a brand new UI for many of the fundamental screens. There’s not a lot in the way in which of latest performance or options, however the whole lot is laid out higher.
Google hasn’t accomplished a lot to publicize the precise title of this launch, but it surely identifies the replace as “Put on OS 2.zero” on the “About” web page, so we’re calling it that. Do not confuse “Put on OS 2.zero” with “Android Put on 2.zero,” although, as a result of the latter launched in 2017. When the title change from “Android Put on” to “Put on OS” occurred, the model numbers reset. Android Put on began at “1.zero” and made all of it the way in which to “2.9;” Put on OS then began over at “1.zero” and counted again as much as “2.zero.” Persevering with the outdated model numbers would have made issues loads simpler: Google and horrible branding—title a extra iconic duo.
The brand new structure
The brand new Put on OS structure places Fast Settings, Google Match, Notifications, and the Google Assistant at your fingertips. Simply swipe in a course.
Lengthy-press on the watch face and you will get this zoomed-out watch face picker (high). You’ll be able to scroll left and proper to alter watch faces (backside).
The app record is unchanged from the outdated Android Put on 2.zero launch in 2017.
The settings have not modified, both.
The core of the Put on OS 2.zero adjustments revolves across the new structure, which places a helpful display on the high, backside, left, and proper of the primary watch face. Fast Settings is the highest display, and the notifications panel is the underside display, making them in roughly the identical spot as Cellphone Android’s pull-down Fast Settings/notification panel. The left display is a predictive playing cards web page, similar to the outdated Google Now feed on an Android Cellphone. The correct display is the brand new residence of Google Match, which was not too long ago revamped with separate metrics for steps and extra intense exercises. Apart from the highest Fast Settings, the opposite three instructions symbolize the three pillars of the brand new Put on OS: Notifications, the Google Assistant, and Google Match.
In comparison with earlier variations of Put on OS/Android Put on, this can be a large enchancment. Fast Settings and notifications have not moved, however, beforehand, Put on used left and proper swipes to alter watch faces. That at all times appeared like a waste of premium actual property. On Put on OS 2.zero, you’ll be able to nonetheless shortly change watch faces by long-pressing on the watch face. Watch faces are nonetheless the one issues OEMs are allowed to customise in Put on OS and have not modified in model 2.zero.
Apart from the 4 fundamental screens you could swipe to from the watch face, the remainder of Put on OS stays unchanged. There’s nonetheless an app record you will get to by urgent the crown button, and all of the apps are unchanged. There is a packed-in Google Play Retailer for apps and an enormous settings part with a lot of choices to scroll by means of. For messaging apps, you’ll be able to nonetheless reply with voice, canned replies, emoji handwriting recognition, or by swiping on the world’s smallest QWERTY keyboard, which is straightforward to ridicule in screenshots however surprisingly good in individual. That is all lined in our Android Put on 2.zero evaluate (which, once more, is the earlier model of Put on OS 2.zero).
The notification panel
The notification panel is an precise panel now, as an alternative of getting one notification per web page. Simply scroll from the highest to the underside with no interruptions.
Simply swipe a notification away to clear it.
Tapping on a notification will broaden it in-line. Right here you’ll be able to see Hangouts expanded with good replies, an everyday reply button, and a “view dialog” button. The remainder of the notifications are nonetheless on this panel.
This is Gmail, collapsed and expanded.
And here is the Pocket Casts podcast app. Like all different variations of Put on, each app is supported routinely as a notification.
The notification panel represents the largest change for Put on OS 2.zero. Notifications have switched from a paginated record to a single scrolling pane. This not solely makes it extra like Cellphone Android’s regular notification panel, however the change additionally makes it loads sooner to scroll by means of when you may have a number of notifications. With Put on 1.zero’s paginated mannequin, 4 notifications meant 4 vertical swipes on the contact display, one to get by means of every web page. With a single pane, the entire traditional touchscreen momentum-based scrolling methods work—a medium-power flick will scroll previous a number of notifications without delay, and a tougher fling will zip to the top of the record. You too can nonetheless spin the crown button like a jog dial and transfer up and down the record.
Notifications on the pane are every separated by a horizontal line, and these will present brief previews of the content material (often the app title, time, and two traces of textual content). Similar to on a telephone, you’ll be able to swipe a notification left or proper to dismiss it, and on the backside of the record is a “Clear All” button. If you wish to really work together with a notification, you’ll be able to faucet on it, which can broaden the notification in-line to indicate extra textual content and a whole lot of motion buttons. For a Gmail message, you will see “Archive,” “Delete,” and “Reply.” However for a message from one thing like Google Hangouts, issues get a bit extra fascinating. Apart from “Reply” and the “launch app” app, you get in-line good replies, similar to on Android 9.zero Pie’s new notification panel. If an app helps them, you will get easy machine studying generated responses, that are generally nicer than making an attempt to talk or sort out a response in your tiny watch.
The great factor in regards to the increasing notifications and additional buttons is that this all occurs in-line. Whereas Put on 1.zero would have had you going by means of a lot of totally different pages, it is simple to take care of a number of notifications on Put on 2.zero with out shedding your home.
Simply as it’s on all of the earlier variations of (Android) Put on OS, the entire notification system is powered by an Android API. Each watch notification, then, has the identical notification textual content and motion buttons as a telephone notification, whatever the particular person app help for Put on. Each app works routinely.