Report: Android Wear 2.0 will require you to install watch apps seperately

Google is trying to make the watch less dependent on the phone, but it could mean an extra step when you grab a new app.

Android Wear 2.0 has been kicked back to 2017, but we’re already starting to hear buzz about how the experience will change for you.

It looks like the way you install apps is going to see a major change. According to a lengthy Android Wear Developers thread on Google+, Android Wear 2.0 will not only support, but require standalone watch and phone apps.

Developer Advocate Ian Lake makes the difference pretty clear:

“A Wear 2.0 user must visit the Play Store on their watch to install apps. There is no auto-install like on Wear 1.X. Wear 2.0 apps get full network access and can be installed completely separately from the handheld app so the focus is much more on standalone Wear apps than the handheld centric 1.X Wear apps,” he said.

This led to a lot of back and forth discussion as to whether this would or wouldn’t be a user-friendly change. Lake said a lot of usability studies found that many didn’t like the Wear app being auto-installed. However, he did note that they’ll still be at the top of the list on the watch so it’ll be easier to go and grab the Watch version. Additionally, you’ll be able to do so directly from the Play Store on the web.

Lake did say other specifics about how this all will work could change, particularly when Dev Preview 4 launches soon.

“I know there’s more we’re going to be talking about around how the Wear Play Store works and how that affects companion style and standalone Wear apps around Dev Preview 4, where some of the remaining PlayStoreAvailability APis are added,” he said.

In general the idea is to make the watch less dependent on the phone, which would also free developers to build watch-only apps that won’t require a version for an Android phone. There’s still a lot to be worked out, so it’s a discussion worth following.

Why this matters: Android Wear 2.0 has a lot of potential in how it can be a more useful part of the Android experience. It’s also worth noting that some of Google’s focus is that the more Android Wear is independent, the better it can work with those who have an iPhone. You just may need to learn a new habit when it comes to picking out apps and installing them.

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Derek Walter

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