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Wear OS 5 arrives in developer preview, offering better battery life

Google is introducing a new version of its smartwatch operating system, Wear OS 5, to developer preview. This latest release, one of several announcements at the Google I/O 2024 developer conference, focuses on improved battery life and other performance improvements, like more efficient workout tracking . Developers also get updated tools for creating watch faces, as well as new versions of Wear OS Tiles and Jetpack Compose for creating watch apps.

Battery life will be the main upgrade that consumers will appreciate, which is aided by improvements to the way certain software works. For example, with workout tracking updates, running a marathon uses 20% less energy than the previous version, Wear OS 4, Google says.

The company also publishes a guide for developers to help them create more efficient applications.

Following last year’s release of watch face formats as part of Wear OS 4, Google is updating the face designer which now powers 30% of watch faces in Google Play. To encourage more developers to adopt this format, Google says it will now limit certain data sources for complications created with AndroidX or the Wearable Support Library and implement publishing limitations for watch faces created with these libraries.

Image credits: Google

Additionally, Jetpack Compose for Wear OS version 1.3 is being released, with a focus on updates that help developers build on all form factors, including Wear OS.

Image credits: Google

Meanwhile, version 1.4 of the Jetpack Tiles library, now in alpha, adds preview support for Android Studio to help developers create Wear OS Tiles, sliding screens that provide information or access the actions of a WearOS application. Other improvements will make it easier to arrange text and other data on tiles, and help developers’ apps determine which of their tiles are used.

Image credits: Google

Other updates include a new sensor panel for testing an app’s use of Google Health Services and new guidelines for creating responsive Wear OS apps on different screen sizes.

Some of the new tools will be rolled out in Android Studio Koala Feature Drop (Canary).

Read more about Google I/O 2024 on TechCrunch

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