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.


If you want a pair of Focals smartglasses, be prepared to go through a process

North Focals are smart glasses that display your notifications, weather, and directions. We went to a pop-up location to try them on and found out just how involved the process is.

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.

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…

The first Android Q beta is available. Here's what we know about it

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system, and now it's available for beta testing.

Allo goodbye: Save your Google Allo chat history before app closes on Tuesday

Google Allo is going away on March 12, making this one of the final times you'll be able to download your existing chat histories and media. Here's how to download what you need from Google's chat app.

Mobile World Congress 2019

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are dominating the news. For 2019…
Product Review

Casio’s Pro Trek WSD-F30 outdoors smartwatch fits city lifestyles, too

It’s equipped with all the outdoor tools and sensors you want, but the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 is as much a lifestyle smartwatch as it is trekking companion.

It’s no Apple Watch, but the Vtech Kidizoom is a cheap smartwatch for kids

Looking for a cheap, no-nonsense smartwatch for kids? The Vtech Kidizoom DX2 smartwatch lets your child take photos, videos, play games, and track steps. With a $15 discount, it's very affordable.

Microsoft Band: Users of the defunct fitness tracker offered a refund

Three years after it stopped making the device, Microsoft has announced it is finally ending support for its Band fitness tracker. The good news is that current users, if there are any still out there, can obtain a partial refund.

Fitbit drops the price, splashes on the color for spring 2019 lineup

Fitbit's spring 2019 lineup includes a new Versa Lite Edition, an affordable everyday smartwatch, as well as the stylish and sleek Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers. There's also the Ace 2, a swimproof tracker for kids ages 6 and up.

Time to get to the gym: The fitness-loving Galaxy Watch Active is now available

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down to the gym.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for March 2019

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.
Home Theater

IPX what? The electronics water- and dust-resistance rating explained

Increasingly, consumer electronics companies are using an IPX code to demonstrate that their products are water and dust resistant. But what does this IPX code mean? We break it all down and walk you through it.

Fitbit Versa Lite versus Fitbit Versa: How are they different?

Fitbit took the best of its popular Versa smartwatch and removed some elements to create the new Versa Lite, an even more affordable entry-level smartwatch. How does the Versa Lite differ from the original Versa? Read on to find out.