Three Cheers for Android Wear 2.0!

Missing from the image above is an animated blue dot that’s surprisingly hard to screenshot…

Had you asked me a week ago I’d have told you that I couldn’t care less about Android Wear 2.0; so long as I had a good-looking timepiece that showed me notifications and allowed me to reply to IMs and texts by voice I’d be happy. But now that the wearable devices in my possession all run the updated smartwatch OS I can appreciate what the fuss is about.

Everyone will have their own favourite features of Android Wear 2.0—feel free to add yours below. Here are three reasons why I’m a fan:

1. This pull-down menu.

If you can believe it, these four functions—airplane mode, theatre mode, do not disturb and settings—used to be on separate screens. So to get to settings, for example, you would have to swipe down and then swipe over three or four times. This new layout makes so much more sense.

2. Only the watch faces I actually want.

The old Android Wear gave you the option of choosing from the first-party watch faces that shipped with your watch, Google’s own watch faces plus any random watch face from the apps on your phone. Google’s faces aren’t entirely horrible but the third party ones—from 500px and The Weather Network, for example—are of dubious value at best.

With Android Wear 2.0 the user has control of which watch faces appear as options on their device. Huzzah!

3. This keyboard.

I knew there was a software keyboard on Android Wear 2.0 but I didn’t expect it to be actually usable. But it is! It’s a welcome alternative to voice replies, and very handy when, say, you’re trying to co-ordinate grocery shopping with your girlfriend at opposite ends of a busy supermarket. In a scenario like this yelling into your wrist isn’t exactly considerate—you may feel like Dick Tracy but to everyone around you you’re just an inconsiderate tool.

So those are my favourite features of Android Wear 2.0 so far. Again, feel free to add your favourites (or least favourites) below. And if you’re still checking your watch for updates, hang in there—it’ll be worth the wait!

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