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Wear OS Developer Preview loses background activity restrictions

by Justin Herrick | June 13, 2018

Google is listening to developers. When the new version of Wear OS is released later this year, it will not have background activity restrictions.

The feature was announced back in March alongside the Wear OS Developer Preview, but Google experienced negative feedback from developers who were tailoring their third-party apps. Developers ran into a problem where their tasks under the hood weren’t being executed in any capacity. Users who used a particular app a lot could then be left in the dark.

The following is part of Google’s explanation:

“When we talked to the developer community, the update that attracted the most feedback was the disabling of alarms and jobs for background apps. After listening to developer feedback and reviewing the battery statistics, we are reversing this change. This should be reflected in all connected Wear OS preview devices, so there is no need to reflash your device.”

Instead, App Standby Buckets will be utilized. It’s the same implementation found in Android P, prioritizing apps’ requests based on how recently and frequently apps are used.

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Wear OS needs a lot more than better battery life, though. The user interface should be overhauled with the option for brands to bring in their own customization. Going back to its days as Android Wear, the platform has struggled to be different between devices.

Based on everything we’ve heard, it looks like Wear OS will undergo a reboot in the fall. Google is working on a Pixel-branded smartwatch, and LG has at least two new products in development. Both should have the same Qualcomm-made chip inside.

The Android P-based version of Wear OS doesn’t have a firm release date, but we suspect it’ll arrive in early October when Google hosts its annual hardware-focused event.

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...


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