This is how Google will improve the quality of Wear OS apps

Before a Google-made smartwatch is released, Google wants to improve the overall quality of Wear OS apps in the Google Play Store. How is it going to do this? By introducing a new, mandatory Google Play Store review process for Wear OS apps.

To be clear, the Play Store review process for Wear OS apps has been available since Wear OS 2.0 was introduced, but at the time it was optional. Now, developers have to pass the review if they want their apps to show up in the Google Play Store. The idea is that reviewing every Wear OS app will ensure that apps maintain an appropriate standard of quality.

“Designing apps for wearables is substantially different to designing for phones or tablets. There are different strengths and weaknesses, different use cases, and different ergonomics to take into consideration,” says Google.

In announcing the new initiative, Google has also revealed the criteria with which it will judge new Wear OS apps. There are eight criteria in total, grouped under “functionality” and “visual design and user interaction.” Criteria include that Wear OS apps function as expected based on an app’s description, that notifications through the app work properly, and that an app is formatted properly for square displays, round displays, or both. Developers must also include one screenshot of the Wear OS app in the listing on Google Play.

Both new and existing apps will have to meet Google’s new guidelines, though existing apps will have a little time to update to meet them. New apps will be subjected to these guidelines on and after October 1, 2018, while existing apps will have until March 4, 2019. Thankfully, Google won’t block mobile apps if their associated Wear OS apps fail — mobile apps can still be updated if Wear OS apps fail the process, but the associated Wear OS apps won’t be searchable on Google Play.

While Wear OS may have had a rough few years, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel. A slew of new Fossil Wear OS devices have recently been released, and as mentioned, there are more devices set to show up in coming months. Hopefully, these new guidelines will improve the quality of apps on the Google Play Store.

Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…

Montblanc’s $995 Summit 2 watch stays on your wrist for longer between charges

Montblanc has taken the wraps off of the new Montblanc Summit 2 -- the first watch to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The watch features a premium design and Google's Wear OS.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Can HP's affordable Chromebook x2 stand up to Google's flagship Slate?

Google has released its first detachable tablet in a few years, the attractive and well-built Pixel Slate. Does it have what it takes to combat our favorite Chrome OS 2-in-1, the HP Chromebook x2?
Product Review

Apple's best product isn't the iPhone, it's the Apple Watch

Apple already ruled the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch Series 3, but the Series 4 elevates it to new levels with more screen, a sleeker design, and even an world-first electrocardiogram app that lets you keep tabs on your ticker.
Product Review

Fossil's Q Venture HR packs quality fitness features into stunning, everyday watch

Starting at $255, the Fossil Q Venture HR brings along top-notch health and fitness features without having to sacrifice style for everyday wear. It also includes Google's new Wear OS. Is it the upgrade from Fossil we've been waiting for?
Product Review

Garmin's Fenix 5X Plus is built for fitness freaks who fawn over every feature

With onboard music, full-color topographic maps, and new sport metrics, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus sets a high bar for GPS smartwatches. Find out how it can help boost your performance in our Fenix 5X Plus review.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is now available for purchase worldwide

Back in August, Fitbit confirmed its new wearable -- the Fitbit Charge 3. The new fitness tracker features a touchscreen OLED display, smartwatch capabilities, enhanced fitness features and more. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Product Review

Withings Steel HR Sport is a fitness tracker you’ll love wearing

Withings jumps back in the wearables game with the new Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that is as much a fitness tracker as it is a timepiece. It's so good that it hasn't left our wrist since we pulled it out of the package.

The best Apple Watch deals for October 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Garmin’s new Instinct GPS watch is built for the sportsman in all of us

The new Garmin Instinct is a GPS multisport watch for people who love to be outdoors. The $300 Instinct takes the best features of the company's popular Fenix watches and packages them into rugged, military-grade package.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!