Android Wear 2.8 Brings Darker Background and Improved Notification Glanceability

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 20 Jan 2018

Google has started rolling out the Android Wear 2.8 update for all compatible smartwatches. The new update brings a darker background for the UI for improved readability and improves notification glanceability with a new layout.

The new layout will allow apps to show more of your unread messages at a glance, while the switch to a black background should also help improve readability and bring about a small boost in battery life for Android Wear devices featuring an OLED display.

Google is rolling out this update through the Android Wear app and not via an OTA. This means that you will receive an update to the Android Wear app on your phone which will bring about these changes. This is a part of the new strategy that the company has employed to update older Android Wear devices with minor enhancements and features without having to get into the hassle of rolling out an OTA update.

The updated Android Wear app will be rolled to all Android devices over the coming week.

Our Take

While these small enhancements would be welcomed by Android Wear device owners out there, I cannot help but feel that Google has not taken proper care of the platform. Android Wear as a platform suffers from the same issues which Android does — fragmentation and lack of updates. And this is despite Google allowing OEMs to make only a limited amount of customisations in their smartwatches.

While Google managed to unveil Android Wear ahead of Apple Watch and watchOS from Apple, the latter has made rapid improvements to its OS and smartwatch hardware to ensure that it is the best in the industry right now. Google, on the other hand, continues to pay little to no attention to the platform.

[Via Google; Image Credit: Reddit]