Wear OS 2.1 update rolling out with new interface and ‘Proactive Assistant’

Wear OS 2.1 brings it back to the core: fitness and notifications

Fossil Q Explorist HR smartwatch

Google is rolling out Wear OS 2.1, an update that will resuscitate the ailing platform by refocussing on the core.

That new focus is on simple fitness tracking and replying to notifications. However, the search giant has left some room to experiment with new features as well.

You can see that new vision in how you interact with the watch. The main screen, as always, is your watch face. But now, if you swipe up, you get notifications, left for Google Fit, down opens Quick Settings and finally and swiping right will open Google’s ‘Proactive Assistant.’

Furthermore, Google has revamped each of those screens. Notifications, for example, are one long list instead of individual cards. The new style is similar to how notifications work on your phone.

Users can still expand notifications, swipe them away and use Google AI quick replies to send messages.

The revamped Google Fit section more closely mirrors the recently updated Fit app on phones. The focus is on the two rings, one for your step count and one for your heart health.

Quick Settings features six more useful buttons, including one to toggle Google Pay. Additionally, this area will show media controls when you’re playing something.

Finally, the ‘Proactive Assistant’ is like Google Now but scaled down for your watch. It provides ambient information like weather and upcoming calendar events that you can scroll through.

Overall, Wear OS 2.1 looks to be a smart update from Google. It refocusses Wear OS and improves usability. It also simplifies things, which helps considering most Wear watches run on dated Qualcomm chips — although this may change soon.

However, compared to Apple’s Watch Series 4, Wear OS still isn’t quite there. It isn’t as feature rich or fast. A lot of that comes down to hardware, and Google is playing smart with the hardware it works with.

Source: The Verge