Google is making some changes to how it delivers new features and improvements to Android Wear-powered smartwatches, an executive said. Hoi Lam, who oversees IoT and wearable categories for Google, said this week that users will soon be able to receive some of these new features to their smartwatches via Google Play store.
Until now, Android Wear users had to download a firmware update, delivered by OEMS, if they wished to get new features from the company. But Lam says with Android Wear 2.0, the company is changing that. This will ensure that the company is able to publish “more timely improvements between OTAs,” he wrote, and not be held back by the OEMs.
The company made use of this feature for the first time last week, when it rolled out a range of improvements to Android Wear. The Android Wear now supports third-party chat apps in Contacts, and the company says it also also improved Play Store discoverability for new users. The update also reduces accidental entry into the watch face picker.
New changes to Android Wear comes at a time when many analysts and users alike wonder if Google is serious about its smartwatch project anymore. There were no Android Wear related announcements at Google’s big event last week. The company also recently removed all non-Google, Android Wear watches from the Google Store.
Google’s rival Apple is increasingly pushing the reach of Apple Watch. At an event last month, a company’s executive said that Apple Watch the most popular watch on the planet. Google had a big headstart on smartwatches devices, and it appears to be lagging far behind Apple’s efforts now.