Discover the Latest Wear OS Updates at I/O 2023

Written by Kseniia Shumelchyk, Android Developer Relations Engineer

The Wear OS platform continues to evolve, and we’re excited to share the latest features and enhancements that can help you create engaging and innovative experiences for your users.

Partners such as Peloton and Todoist have been developing exceptional experiences for Wear OS, and have seen the impact on user engagement and feature adoption. You can hear from Peloton engineers about how they created a distinct watch experience using Compose for Wear OS.

In this blog post, we’re showcasing some of the key updates that we announced at Google I/O this year. Let’s delve into the latest advances in Wear OS!

Wear OS 4 Developer Preview

We are releasing the first Developer Preview of Wear OS 4 today, which is the next version of Google’s smartwatch platform arriving later this year. Wear OS 4 incorporates advancements in security, power optimization, and user customization.

This release introduces several new tools to enhance your Wear OS app experience:

Watch Face Format

We are launching the Watch Face Format, a new way to create watch faces for Wear OS. The format makes it easier to create customizable and more power-efficient watch faces for Wear OS 4. Developed in partnership with Samsung, the Watch Face Format is a declarative XML format, so there is no executable code involved in creating a watch face, and there will be no code embedded in your watch face APK. Read more.
Watch faces created using the new Format
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Wear OS tiles provide users with fast and predictable access to the information and actions they rely on the most. Version 1.2 of the Jetpack Tiles library offers support for platform data bindings, so if your tile uses platform data sources such as heart rate, step count, or time, the tile is updated once per second.

The latest version of tiles includes support for animations. You can use tween animations to create smooth transitions on changes to part of your layout, and transition animations can animate new or disappearing elements from the tile.

Image showing examples of animated Tiles
Examples of animated Tiles

Get Your App Ready

Wear OS 4 is based on Android 13, which is several versions newer than the current Wear OS version. Therefore, your app will need to handle the system behavior changes that took effect in Android 12 and Android 13. We recommend that you start by testing your app and releasing a compatible update first because devices are getting upgraded to Wear OS 4. This is a basic yet essential level of quality that ensures a positive app experience for users.

Download the Wear OS 4 emulator in Android Studio Hedgehog to explore new features and test your app on Wear OS 4 Developer Preview.

Tooling and Library Updates

Wear OS Support in Firebase Test Lab

Firebase Test Lab will soon support running tests for your standalone app on physical Google Pixel Watches. You can run your automated tests on the Google

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