Changes are afoot for Wear OS and the Pixel Watch, as Google continues to make improvements to its flagship smartwatch.
Both updates have been reported by 9to5Google.
First up is an update to Google Maps for Wear OS 3, which can now make use of the always-on display on compatible smartwatches.
This means that when navigating from the wrist, the map will stay illuminated, even if you allow the screen to dim, or stop looking at the watch.
There’s also been a UI overhaul too, with dedicated full-screen options for both the physical map and listed turn-by-turn directions.
This should make Google Maps much easier to use on Wear OS 3 smartwatches, and is a big step forward in making the jewels of Google’s crown shine brighter on its wearables.
The second update is a little more complex.
9to5Google sleuths have spotted a mention of the Material You design features, which enable dynamic switching of colors across the OS.
A thread of code that reads “DYNAMIC_COLOR_THEME_ENABLED” was found in the code for Android 14, among a list of wearables-related settings.
This means that Wear OS may soon be more customizable, and dynamically adjust to chosen watch faces.
However, the black design of Wear OS both conserves vital power and is crucial to the “bezel-less” look of the Pixel Watch – given that it does, in fact, have a significant bezel. So dynamically switching colors may not be in the interest of Pixel users in particular.
This could also be a line of code on the path to Wear OS 4.0.
Google promised annual updates to its OS, so all eyes are on its I/O developer conference this May to see how it follows up.
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