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Wear OS 4 Officially Released: Upgrade Coming to Original Pixel Watches

This week, the exciting announcement of the Pixel Watch 2 brought with it the introduction of the new Wear OS 4. While the term “new” comes with an asterisk, as Wear OS was previously seen on the Galaxy Watch6 series in a heavily customized Samsung interpretation, the Watch 2 will embrace the new OS right from the start. However, for owners of the original Pixel Watches, there’s good news – an update to Wear OS 4 is on the horizon, expected later this year. During this interim period, developers can utilize Galaxy Watches for testing their applications.

The Innovative Watch Face Format

Developers exploring the new Wear OS may find the Watch Face Format particularly intriguing. This feature, co-developed with Samsung, empowers developers to define the appearance and behavior of watch faces using XML, eliminating the need for executable code. Wear OS takes charge of rendering the watch face, alleviating concerns about code optimizations and battery performance. This innovative approach streamlines the development process and enhances the overall user experience.

Jetpack Tiles Library Version 1.2

Wear OS 4 introduces version 1.2 of the Jetpack Tiles library, offering developers new animation features and data bindings. Data bindings provide a straightforward method for displaying real-time data within applications. For example, developers can effortlessly showcase data such as the number of steps taken during the day, ensuring that this information remains up-to-date without manual intervention.

Seamless Transition with Cloud Backup and Restore

Switching to new hardware has never been easier, thanks to the cloud backup and restore functionality. When transitioning from a Pixel Watch to a Pixel Watch 2, users will have the flexibility to select which applications and files should be transferred, streamlining the setup process. Similarly, individuals upgrading to a new smartphone can effortlessly transfer their watch without the need for a factory reset, ensuring a seamless transition without data loss.

Important OS Update

Wear OS 4 is based on Android 13, a notable shift from the previous Wear OS 3.5, which was rooted in Android 11. This transition brings several substantial changes, including the discontinuation of 32-bit support. Consequently, developers are encouraged to ensure that their applications are compatible with the new OS. To facilitate this, the Wear OS 4 emulator is available, and developers can leverage the new Pixel Watch 2 (and soon the original Pixel Watch), along with other v4-compatible watches for testing and optimization.

The arrival of Wear OS 4 heralds an exciting era for wearable technology. While the Pixel Watch 2 proudly leads the way with this new OS, owners of the original Pixel Watches can look forward to an imminent upgrade. With innovative features like the Watch Face Format and the Jetpack Tiles library, as well as seamless transitions facilitated by cloud backup and restore, Wear OS 4 promises an enhanced user experience and a brighter future for wearable devices. Developers are encouraged to embrace this transition and ensure the compatibility of their apps with the new Android 13-based OS.

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