Google is bringing standalone apps to Android Wear 1.0

Standalone apps are one of the hallmark features of Android Wear 2.0, and Google has announced they’re heading to smartwatches running Wear 1.0.

The company has also updated the terms of its Play Store policy, encouraging developers to work towards the changes.

Currently, apps are able to work due to multi-APKs, which means that the software can detach from the accompanied phone. The benefit of this, of course, is that developers can create apps for Wear watches tethered to an iOS smartphone. Google says these multi-APKs will now work for Wear 1.0 devices.

As for the Play Store changes, Google will remove the “Enhanced for Android Wear” tag from apps that combine Wear and a mobile app. This also applies to watch faces and complication providers.

As of 18 January, 2018, the search engine giant wants apps to become independent through the Wear APK and upload separately as a multi-APK in order to qualify for the tag. This will also mean the same apps will feature in the curated collections located in the store.

This is all good news for those still holding onto the old software or those who own a device which won’t receive the Wear 2.0 upgrade, though Google have indicated this is a move being made in order to keep the gate open for those who pair with an iOS device.

“This is critical to providing apps not only to our Android users, but also iOS users – which is increasingly important as we continue to expand our diverse ecosystem of watches and users,” Google said in a blog post.

Since this a move geared toward iOS users and not necessarily Wear 1.0 owners, it’s not yet clear if any more support will be coming to older devices, but expect to see further improvements to the platform in the coming months.

Source: 9to5GoogleVia:Android Developers Blog

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