Google is bringing Android P to the wearable market. The company has announced the first developer preview of Android P for Wear OS, which adds a number of new features — including a dark theme, limited background activity, and even the deactivation of radios when the watch detects that it’s not being worn.
The developer preview was first announced in a blog post, which highlighted the biggest visual change to come to the wearable operating system — dark mode. Dark mode has been available in Wear OS since the beginning of the year, and basically brings a black background to the notification stream and launcher. Now, the dark mode will be the default theme for Wear OS, and Google says that will help improve glanceability for the operating system.
A number of Android P features are also coming to Wear OS. For example, as mentioned, the operating system will limit background activity, something that should help improve a device’s battery life. Improved battery seems to be a theme for the Wear OS developer preview — Wear OS will also now turn off the bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular radios when the watch isn’t being worn. Wear OS will change another way that a device handles radios too — a device will no longer automatically connect to Wi-Fi when they disconnect from Bluetooth unless an app specifically needs a high-bandwidth network.
According to Google’s blog post, the features will roll out to users gradually. You can download the Developer Preview manually for the Huawei Watch 2 Sport and Huawei Watch 2 Classic now, and you will want to make sure that you download the right file for your region. Of course, you also want to make sure you know what you’re doing here — Android developer previews are meant for developers, not for consumers who simply want the latest version of Android. If you are a consumer, we recommend waiting until Android P rolls out officially, which we expect to happen later this year.
The full Android P developer preview for phones has also been available for a few weeks now. The new version of the Android operating system brings things like improved notifications and support for display cutouts.
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